A surgeon from Nebraska is offering volunteer work for his patients who cannot afford their medical bills.
Demetrio Aguila, a doctor from Healing Hands of Nebraska, launched his M25 Program six months ago to help reduce medical debt, according to CBS News.
Instead of paying with money, patients can donate their time and perform community service, according to the clinic’s website.
Although he accepts lump-sum payments, which can be split into installments, the nerve specialist also employed a new time-based system of billing to allow the clinic to set reasonable and predictable prices, People reported. With this system, the clinic can also determine how much volunteering a patient needs to complete in order to pay their medical bills.
“Since we are not constrained by commercial insurance contracts, we have the freedom to be transparent about our pricing and we charge exactly what we say we do,” the program reads. “Every patient knows the exact cost of the care offered, right down to the last penny, prior to undergoing any visit or procedure.”
While speaking to CBS News, Aguila said he believes that the program will allow people from all walks of life to receive medical attention without worrying about the bills.
“We can’t ignore the people in our own backyard. We want to be able to offer hope to patients who have lost hope medically,” he said.
“I don’t care if you’re a multi-billionaire or if you’re the guy on the street corner with a styrofoam cup. You get offered the same options. Why? Because it’s fair.”
Jeff Jensen, the first person in Aguila’s M25 Program, had to complete 560 hours of volunteer work to pay for his operation.
“The M25 Program is not about money,” Jensen said in his testimonial video. “If people come together to help other people, then your community thrives.”
Aguila does allow those enrolled in the program to enlist help elsewhere. Fortunately, Jensen received help from students at the University of Nebraska’s Medical Center, who volunteered at Orphan Grain Train to help him complete his charity work.
About 10% of Aguila’s list of patients are qualified and eight of them have are already enrolled in the M25 Program.