Ballad Health, non-profit work to reduce nearly $278 million of medical debt


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Ballad Health has reached an agreement with a non-profit to eliminate nearly $278 million of medical debt.

The health system says its agreement with RIP Medical Debt will reduce debt for about 82,000 people previously served by Ballad Health.

RIP Medical Debt is a non-profit that uses donated funds to purchase the medical debt of financially burdened people.

Ballad says it is the first health system to work directly with the organization.

“Everyone who will receive their debt abolished through this collaboration with RIP Medical Debt qualifies for our charity care policy, but for various reasons, they did not take advantage of it in prior years, or their circumstances have changed, leaving many without assistance,” Chief Population Health Officer Anthony Keck said in a release. “By removing this burden of old debt, we hope to better engage with our patients, so they access care and other services when they need them without the fear of unmanageable expenses.”

Letters in yellow envelopes from RIP Medical Debt have been sent to eligible recipients. The letters are expected to be delivered during the week of June 28. Ballad says each letter only applies to a single instance of debt, meaning that patients with more than one outstanding account that does not qualify for the charity care policy will still be responsible for those payments.

Those with outstanding accounts who believe they may be eligible for charity care can call Ballad at 423-408-7400.

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