A doctor in Pine Bluff, Arkansas is wiping the slate clean for nearly 200 of his cancer patients—by foregoing all balances owed. Dr. Omar Atiq, who is an oncologist and founder of the Arkansas Cancer Institute, informed his patients of his generous gesture in their yearly holiday greeting card.
“I hope this note finds you well. The Arkansas Cancer Clinic was proud to serve you as a patient. Although various health insurances pay most of the bills for majority of patients, even the deductibles and co-pays can be burdensome. Unfortunately, that is the way our health care system currently works,” 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.”
Dr. Atiq says this has been an especially challenging year, but he hopes that by helping his patients financially, he can ease a bit of the stress. Atiq worked with a billing company to forego the debt and ensure that no patient would face financial repercussions.
“Being sick is hard, having cancer is harder, and having cancer in this pandemic is devastating,” Atiq added.
Since establishing the Arkansas Cancer Clinic in 1991, Atiq has treated over thousands of patients. And even with his generous gift—the bills totaled around $65,000—he considers himself just a “regular physician.”
“I am…a regular person that they have in the neighborhood – just so happens to be me standing here,” Atiq said. “The ones struggling couldn’t pay, so we thought we could just write off the debt.”
“I love them, I care for them, and I am glad I was able to do a little bit at this point for them,” said Atiq.
Just what the doctor ordered.
Lead image: Fox16