Church Clears Almost $1.4 Million in Medical Debt for New Mexico, Arizona Families


St. Bede’s Episcopal Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico has brought relief to almost 800 households in the city and some areas in Arizona. The church took it upon itself to offset the medical bills of the households who were finding it difficult to pay their debts.

The church teamed up with a medical debt recovery group called RIP Medical Debt when it discovered that their $15,000 donation could be multiplied for them. In a letter that was made available to the Episcopal News Service, the church explained how they were able to offset the debt. 

"RIP identifies households whose incomes are less than twice the poverty level or are insolvent, and owe medical debt. Then they buy the debt at a fraction of face value (as a collection agency otherwise would) and pay it off using donations from people such as us," the church wrote.

"Furthermore, they write the affected parties a letter telling them they no longer owe the debt. And equally important, contact credit agencies to verify the debt have been paid, clearing the debtor's credit history. The letter recipients identify St. Bede's as the donor," the letter continued. 

It was through this means that the $15,000 grant of St. Bede could do a lot more as it cleared $1,380,119.87 in medical debt for 782 families who live in New Mexico and parts of Arizona. 

In his statement, Rev. Catherine Volland of St. Bede’s Episcopal Church stated that he is not certain if any program with such outstanding impact has ever been carried out by the parish. However, it was possible because 10% of donations the church gets are usually kept weekly for outreach. The cleric added that the gospel imperative of the church is prioritizing service to others.

The beneficiaries got a letter stating that, without any strings attached, their debts have all been cleared by St. Bede’s congregation. Likewise, the church got letters acknowledging receipt of their good will and appreciation in accordance.

According to CBN News, one of the appreciation letters read,

"I was having a hard time trying to figure out how I was going to pay all this amount of money. And it's not been easy finding a job especially when you have two kids and with this pandemic going on. It has really been a very hard year for me and for everyone. I would love to thank personally that special person that helped me with my account. I am so thankful and I just want to say God bless you always.’’

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