GARDNER, MA - Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - Heywood Healthcare and RIP Medical Debt (RIP), announced a new agreement that will eliminate $800,000 of patient medical debt for more than 1,100 Heywood Healthcare patients.
Over the next couple of weeks, residents of Gardner and the surrounding communities benefiting from this medical debt relief will be receiving letters directly from RIP Medical Debt. These letters (recognized by an RIP logo on the outside) will indicate that they own an account, which qualifies for medical debt elimination, with no strings attached.
National nonprofit RIP Medical Debt works with individuals, companies and even care providers like Heywood to abolish medical debt for individuals with a household income of under 200% of the current Federal Poverty Level, or individuals whose medical debt represents 5% or more of the patient's annual household income.
“The pandemic has further exacerbated the financial strain on many households within our region. It is with the intent of lifting some of that burden off our patients, that Heywood Healthcare donated its outstanding qualified medical debt to RIP Medical Debt, and we couldn’t be more pleased.” - stated Heywood Healthcare President and CEO, Win Brown.
Qualifying past-due (non-governmental) accounts owed to Heywood were donated to RIP, which then took ownership of them and -- using its proprietary model as a 501(c)(3) -- will abolish them. Recipients will have no tax liability for the cancelled debt. Relief is random, based on accounts that qualify, and cannot be requested.
“The emotional and financial burden of medical debt has never been more acute than during these trying times,” shares RIP’s executive director Allison Sesso. “We applaud Heywood for being the first hospital to donate their qualifying accounts to us, allowing us to substantially expand our impact.”
Additional information about RIP Medical Debt can be found on the Heywood Healthcare website page at https://www.heywood.org/about-us/community-benefit/patient-financial-services.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kelly Cacciolfi, Director of Marketing & Communications
About Heywood Healthcare
Heywood Healthcare is an independent, community-owned healthcare system serving north central Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire. It is comprised of Heywood Hospital, a 134-bed acute care community-owned non-profit hospital in Gardner, MA; Athol Hospital, a 25-bed not-for-profit, Critical Access Hospital in Athol, MA; Heywood Medical Group, with primary care physicians and specialists located throughout the region; and The Quabbin Retreat, our premier destination for treatment of mental health and substance misuse.
The organization includes eight satellite facilities in MA: Ashburnham Family Medicine in Ashburnham, Heywood Rehabilitation Center, Summit Family Medicine & Heywood Urgent Care in Gardner, Winchendon Health Center & Murdock School-based Health Center in Winchendon, Tully Family Medicine and Walk-In Care in Athol; and Millers River Primary Care in Orange. The organization also includes the Heywood Healthcare Charitable Foundation. For more information, visit www.heywood.org.
About RIP Medical Debt
Since being founded in 2014 by two former debt collectors, RIP Medical Debt has acquired — and abolished — more than $5.6 billion of burdensome medical debt, helping over 3.2 million families by addressing a major social determinant of health: financial hardship. RIP partners with individuals, faith-based organizations, foundations and corporations and empowers their donors by converting every dollar donated into an average of $100 of medical debt abolished. RIP also partners with hospitals and health systems, physicians and other organizations to acquire medical debt for abolishment. RIP rose to national prominence on an episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver in which RIP facilitated the abolishment of $15M in medical debt. In December of 2020 philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $50 million to the nonprofit to help uplift struggling communities. To learn more, visit www.ripmedicaldebt.org