$200M of debt erased for MetroHealth patients

Cleveland-based MetroHealth System and RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit debt relief service, have shared an agreement that will help erase just over $200 million in medical debt for 290,761 Northeast Ohio patients.

There is no application process needed for patients, as the debt relief recipients will receive a RIP Medical Debt letter sharing which debt or debts have been removed, according to a Feb. 23 MetroHealth news release.

RIP Medical Debt works with hospital systems across the U.S. to purchase past due medical debt in bundles at a significant discount, according to its website. Recipients who qualify for medical debt relief are around four times or below the federal poverty limit or their medical debts are 5% or more of their income annually. 

The letters are arriving to recipients in the Northeast Ohio area now, the release said. 

In April 2023, the Cleveland city council passed legislation to give RIP Medical Debt $1.9 million in federal pandemic recovery funds, which is helping erase nearly $137 million in debt for 133,093 Cleveland MetroHealth patients. RIP Medical Debt also worked with the city council to erase more than $33 million in debt for another local hospital system, the release said.

RIP Medical Debt used private donations to acquire MetroHealth patient debt for residents outside the city limits of Cleveland.

MetroHealth is a safety-net hospital system that comprises five hospitals, four emergency departments, and over 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. It has nearly 9,000 employees. 

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