Notebook > Lifestyle

Health & dignity

"Health & dignity" Continued...

Issue: "2012: The Year Ahead," Jan. 14, 2012

Sometimes even a little money is too much. Nurse Lisa Goodeau explained to one new patient, "Don't not come because you don't have the money. We'll start you an account. We don't report it to the credit bureau. It's an honor system." Dottie Hardy explained further, "We never bill. We never chase them down. If they remember to pay it, that's fine. Their account is in their head."

While I was visiting, a middle-aged man poked his head through the door, looking for someone who had taken care of him a while back. He wanted to tell her, "I'm doing good." A trucker, he lost his job when he developed eye trouble. No longer able to make payments, he lost his truck. Then he lost his house. Finally he came to TOMAGWA, where a doctor discovered cataracts on both eyes. A sympathetic eye surgeon performed surgery, and the trucker is back at work.

Susan Browning is a nurse who has been volunteering 25 hours a week for the past 16 months. She says appreciative patients like the truck driver make volunteering easy, but she also enjoys "the freedom to practice medicine freely." Nurses don't have to worry about "the things you have to do to be reimbursed." As Judy Deyo explains, "We spend money on patient care, not on paperwork."

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.

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