Posted March 7, 2024 in Around the Synod

The results are in, and the numbers are staggering.

Thanks to an outreach at Bower Hill Community Church in Mt. Lebanon, PA, more than $5,900,000 in medical debt has been erased for 6,500 families in the Synod of the Trinity region. Offerings from around the Synod region helped collect money for the program.

“I am overcome with emotion right now when I look at the number of families whose lives have been changed,” said Jean Miewald, the chair of the Bower Hill Mission Committee.

In 2023, the Pittsburgh Presbytery congregation accepted the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Matthew 25 invitation, which asks those who join to work toward one of the following: building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism or eradicating systemic poverty. The Mission Committee at Bower Hill chose the latter as its Matthew 25 initiative.

The Mission Committee partnered with RIP Medical Debt to begin eliminating medical bills in the region. RIP Medical Debt is a four-star, 100-percent Charity Navigator non-profit organization that buys portfolios of medical debt. For instance, if someone owes a hospital $20,000 and can’t afford to pay it, the hospital will be happy to simply get some return for its services knowing it will never have the bill paid in full. RIP Medical Debt will buy that debt portfolio for a reduced price, and the debt will be wiped clean.

All told, nearly $49,000 was collected in the Synod region, which was used to pay off $5,957,132.58 in medical debt for 6,537 families in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. A breakdown of medical debt that was abolished is available by clicking here.