Elaine Bryant

By David O’Connor
“We couldn’t have touched that bill in a year with our own money.”

Bryant_familyElaine Bryant figured her family was stuck.

She thought they earned too much to qualify for help paying their son Jack’s ongoing – and expensive – medical bills.

But at the same time, the North Carolina family was being stretched to the limit making monthly payments for ongoing and necessary hospital stays for Jack, 13, who has epilepsy.

Jack “is a happy kid, he knows he’s loved and supported, but it (his condition) does weigh on him,” as well as the rest of the family, Elaine says. And getting help with the hospital bills would help the family pay for other therapy and services for their son.

Enter Dollar For.

After Elaine heard a report on NPR about Dollar For, she submitted an application this fall and quickly heard the good news – Duke University Hospital would write off 70 percent of their $7,035 bill for Jack’s care, or a total of $4,925.

The hospital never mentioned the possibility of charity care. They had offered the Bryants a payment plan, and the family had been making the $200-a-month payments for some three years when Elaine heard about Dollar For.

Elaine, who works in three nearby hospitals as a photographer for newborn babies – her husband Jeff works for the American Institute of CPAs as a project manager – said she “just felt like we were in this ‘middle spot,’ not being eligible for more than what they (the hospital) offered.”

“I’m just incredibly thankful,” says Elaine, who says working with Dollar For was not time-consuming – in fact, the Patient Advocates made things “easy” for her, she continues.

And that’s a good thing, since she spends a lot of time monitoring her son’s daily health and is always researching new treatments and financial options for his treatment: “I wouĺ́d absolutely recommend giving (Dollar For) a try.”

Jack, who has a twin sister and an older brother (a high school junior), is helped when he can take part in equine-assisted therapy, socialization and other activities. His memory and speech are affected by his condition, he has never been free of epileptic seizures since his diagnosis, and he sometimes has to miss school, Elaine says.

Since its beginning, Dollar For has helped bring about more than $21 million in medical debt relief. It helps patients check to see if they are eligible for charity care and then prepare and submit applications toward eliminating or reducing medical bills.

“It felt like a win,” Elaine says of the financial help. “It frees us up at least a little bit.”

Rather do it yourself? Our online manual and automated self-service system walk patients through the step-by-step process of applying for financial assistance.

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