Greensboro, N.C. - We introduced you to Renee Day in October 2011. At that time, she was battling stage four aggressive breast cancer. She struggled to pay rent and care for her family. Now, more than a year later, she is cancer free and free of medical debt.
Day is a patient at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. The hospital decided to erase her debt. Staff members knew the financial struggles she was facing and told her they wanted her to focus on getting better, not the bills.
Day still remembers the phone call. "They said, 'We have some exciting news. We're erasing your bill. 100 percent.' I just started crying. I'll try not to cry now. I'm like, 'Are you kidding?'"
She added, "The financial stress is huge. You don't realize how much your life is worth until you see the dollar amount at the bottom of every paper that comes in. And, you're like, really? My life is worth $274,000?"
However, if you ask her family, they'll tell you her life is worth far more.
Her son, Christian, told her, "I just can't imagine, if I were in your shoes, how I would have handled it. I don't think I'd handle it as well as you did." Day responded, "It's all God."
Even now, she's still not sure why the hospital decided to erase her debt.
"Everybody has a struggle. How did they pick me? How was it that my name came up?...I'm not in bad debt. I was making every effort to pay them. So, it wasn't a situation where I went into bad debt and they said you can't pay or you won't pay," she said.
Whatever the reason, Day feels blessed.
"Radiation is over. Chemo is over. My hair is back. I'm ready. I'm ready to take on the world," she said.
Insurance covered some of her bills, but Cancer Treatment Centers of America erased the rest of her medical debt.
WFMY News 2 also wanted to know if our local hospitals ever erase medical debt.
Cone Health says it provided $172 million in charity care, bad debt and Medicare/Medicaid shortfalls last fiscal year. The hospital says the number has more than doubled since 2005 because so many people don't have health insurance or can't afford to pay their bills.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is an academic hospital, so it has different guidelines and programs than Cone Health. During the last fiscal year, Wake Forest provided $237.1 million for charity care, Medicare/Medicaid shortfalls, medical education, research, outreach and programs.
Every hospital has different policies and procedures for erasing debt. We have linked to several below:
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
WFMY News 2