New Safety Protocol

  • All bags/belongings entering the Emergency Department will be searched.  It is suggested that patients only bring necessary items (e.g. Keys, ID, Phones)
  • All Patients entering the Emergency Departments will be Screened via a security wand
  • Patients entering the ED Treatment area will be provided a gown
  • Visitation Update - One visitor per patient (children may have both parents).  Visitors will be subject to wanding and are asked not to bring any belongings into the ED with them.  If they choose to bring in bags they will be subject to a search.
  • At this time, all protocols are not currently in effect at Athol Hospital. Full implementation is planned to begin in the coming days.

Click here for more information.

RIP Medical Debt Collaborates with Heywood Healthcare to Eliminate $800,000 of Patient Medical Debt

January 25, 2022

RIP Medical Debt

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

Heywood Healthcare
Kelly Cacciolfi, Director of Marketing & Communications
[email protected]


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


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