Arkansas cancer center forgiving $650K in medical debt

Pine Bluff-based Arkansas Cancer Institute is wiping away outstanding medical debt for 200 patients, local NBC affiliate KARK reports. The remaining bills total about $650,000. 

The clinic is closing after 29 years and Omar Atiq, MD, an oncologist who founded the institute, made the decision to forgive all remaining balances owed by its patients. Patients were notified of the news via a holiday greeting card sent to them. 

"Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome," the card reads. "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." 

"I am just a regular physician — a regular person that they have in the neighborhood — just so happens to be me standing here," Dr. Atiq told KARK. "I love [my patients], I care for them, and I am glad I was able to do a little bit at this point for them." 


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