Arkansas Cancer Clinic which was closed in late February, forgoes$650,000 in patients’ bills. The founder of the clinic sent notices to patients saying, "The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients."
We've seen the brighter side of humanity during this pandemic. People have gone to extra lengths to help out each other. But what this doctor did is exceptional!
Dr. Omar Atiq, the founder of the Arkansas Cancer Clinic has forgiven all balances owed to the clinic by its patients.
The clinic closed down in late February. It had provided cancer treatment ranging from chemotherapy and radiotherapy to diagnostics, such as CAT scans.
Recently, the clinic sent out holiday greetings along with a note. The note said, "The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was proud to have you as a patient. Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for the majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome. The clinic has decided to forego all balances owed to the clinic by its patients."
Dr. Omar Atiq, an oncologist who founded the Arkansas Cancer Clinic in 1991, sent out notices to patients earlier this week that any outstanding debt would no longer need to be paid.
The Arkansas Cancer Clinic has outstanding patient bills totaling nearly $650,000, said Atiq, also a professor at the UAMS College of Medicine and oncologist at the UAMS William P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. The clinic worked with a billing company to cancel the debt and to ensure no patient who owed money would face any type of financial repercussions, such as negatively affecting the ability to obtain credit, Atiq said.
Dr. Atiq is originally from Pakistan. He moved to Pine Bluff in 1991 after completing a fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He moved to Pine Bluff after he received a job offer from Jefferson Regional Medical Center.
According to Atiq, his decision to move to Pine Bluff was life-changing. in 2013, Atiq became the first non-white president of the Arkansas Medical Society. in 2018, he became the chairman-elect of the board of governors of the American College of Physicians.
"It is really fate," Dr. Omar Atiq said. "We have been very grateful. This has been home for a long time. We are grateful for the opportunity for what has happened to our lives here. I believe the opportunities that have come my way are, in part, because of where I am," he said.
First, Atiq called David Wroten, executive vice president of the Arkansas Medical Society, a physician advocacy group, for his opinion about forgiving patient debts. Wroten said, "When he called me, he wanted to make sure there was nothing improper about doing it. I can't, for the life of me, imagine there would be." He added, "If you knew Dr. Atiq, you would better understand," Wroten said. "First, he is one of the smartest doctors I have ever known, but he is also one of the most compassionate doctors I have ever known."
"He truly has a heart-felt love affair with the patients who he has seen," he said. "He has gotten as much from his patients as they have gotten from him."
Wroten further said, 'Cancer treatment is "very expensive. There are people who will pay on their bills for 20 years, maybe $10 a month -- people who don't have the means to pay for their care.'
Atiq claims that the hospital faced over half a million dollars in outstanding debts from nearly 200 patients as they never refused to see any patient. He said, "We have never refused to see a patient. Not for lack of health insurance or funds nor for any other reason. I've always considered it a high honor and privilege to be someone's physician -- more important than anything else."
Article source: arkansasonline