The accumulation of medical debt has a significant impact on our community**. At VIDA, we work to mitigate the financial, emotional, and health impacts of medical debt by providing one-on-one medical debt counseling through our Medical Debt Reduction project. We focus on medical debt that patients have at the three major Albuquerque hospitals: UNMH, Presbyterian, and Lovelace. Our medical debt case managers provide bilingual (Spanish and English) counseling to help patients locate debt, apply for financial assistance programs, and establish payment plans. To date, our Medical Debt Reduction program has saved clients more than 1.5 million dollars. VIDA also provides medical debt reduction trainings to local organizations and community advocacy groups.
Regional Health Planning
The medical debt initiative leads directly into VIDA’s second project, which is the promotion of regional health planning and the expansion of the Bernalillo County health safety net. Therecent implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid expansion will provide health insurance to many more Bernalillo County residents but several significant gaps will remain. It is estimated that more than 60,000 Bernalillo County residents will be without access to affordable health insurance and healthcare in 2015. In order to address this issue, VIDA is collaborating with community groups and Bernalillo County leaders to advocate for a county health planning process that ensures that public health funding is directed towards providing affordable healthcare to all Bernalillo County residents.