One Arkansas Oncologist is giving a gift to nearly 200 cancer patients as he is erasing their medical debt which totals to $650,000, according to Good Morning America.
Dr. Omar Atiq closed his cancer clinic, the Arkansas Cancer Clinic, in Pine Bluff in early 2020 after nearly three decades in business. After closing his practice, he worked with a billing company to try and close outstanding accounts, but ultimately he decided to instead erase their debt, according to Good Morning America,
"Over time I realized that there are people who just are unable to pay," Atiq told "Good Morning America." "So my wife and I, as a family, we thought about it and looked at forgiving all the debt...We saw that we could do it and then just went ahead and did it.”
He announced the special debt cancellation in his holiday greeting to former patients, according to Fox 16.
“I hope this note finds you well. The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was proud to serve you as a patient. Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome,” the statement read. “Unfortunately, that is the way our health care system currently works. Arkansas Cancer Clinic is closing its practice after over 29 years of dedicated service to the community. The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients. Happy Holidays.”
The oncologist also told Arkansas Online that due to the pandemic and the crisis people were facing both financially and socially, now was the time to drop the debt.
"I saw patients over the years who just didn’t have anything or who went bankrupt trying to pay for their treatment," he told Good Morning America. "In many ways it seems like a totally unfair situation."