26 November 2022 |

4 Things to be Thankful for in Healthcare in 2022

By Blake Madden

I hope your hearts are full and your stomachs stretched to their utter limit after Thanksgiving.

Today we’re keeping it light. Sometimes I think healthcare discourse can get pretty negative. So here are some things I’m thankful for and organizations doing the most in healthcare.

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RIP Medical Debt

Today I’m thankful for RIP Medical Debt. I think RIP Medical Debt is pretty well known at this point, but this is a rockstar organization. Patient medical debt stats are pretty staggering:

  • Around 90% of the U.S. population has health insurance, yet it seems to cover less and less each year. High deductibles and lower cost sharing leads to medical debt for people with limited assets
  • 9% (23M) people owe $250+ in medical costs
  • Collective medical debt in 2020 totaled $195 billion
  • 66.5% + of all bankruptcies were tied to healthcare related costs in 2019, around 530,000 families.
  • Healthcare costs have a silent impact as well – people actively avoid going to the doctor. 50% delay or avoid care because of the cost.

So you can see why RIP Medical Debt exists and how the work it does is incredible. See, after a while, healthcare organizations with uncollected bills from patients will send those bills to a collections agency at a discount.

That collections agency will then crush credit scores and cause hell for families, leading to bankruptcy or other financial headaches. Wild.

RIP Medical Debt steps in and buys up old patient debt for pennies on the dollar, using significantly less money to wipe out a ton of $$$. Since its founding, the debt relief organization has helped eradicate over 4.2 million families, relieving $7.3M+ in debts!

Today I’m thankful for RIP Medical Debt. I can’t think of an organization where your dollar goes further in helping families. Check out their website here.

Stop Soldier Suicide

Today I’m thankful for Stop Soldier Suicide (SSS). SSS is the only national nonprofit focused solely on reducing the military suicide rate. SSS’s goal is to reduce military and veteran suicide rates by 40% no later than 2030. In 2021 alone, SSS saved almost 150 lives, the equivalent of an entire U.S. infantry company.

I shared this a few weeks ago, but I wanted to re-up it here again: here’s a word from SSS’s Chief Growth Officer Tina Starkey on what SSS is all about and how you can help them out this holiday season and Giving Tuesday:

The numbers are staggering: As of September 2022, veterans are 57 percent more likely to die by suicide than members of the general population. And, since 2001, we’ve lost more than 125,000 veterans by their own hands.

These families of military suicide loss are brothers, sisters, spouses, and parents, like Gay and Kevin Murga, who lost their only son, Austin, in Sept 2020 at the age of 26. At Stop Soldier Suicide we’re on a mission to ensure future military families don’t suffer the grief and loss that comes with veteran suicide.

Our goal is to reduce veteran suicide by 40 percent by the year 2030. We believe our technology innovation, Black Box Project, will uncover never before known insights about how those we’ve lost to suicide spent their final days, hours, and minutes. These insights will be used to redefine signals of risks, advance methods of outreach and care, and ultimately significantly reduce service member and veteran suicide.

To learn more about our mission, and Black Box Project, visit StopSoldierSuicide.org/BlackBoxProject

If you or a veteran or service member you know is struggling, please call us 24/7 at 844-889-5610 or visit StopSoldierSuicide.org/get-help

Clinical workers doing the most

Today I’m thankful for our healthcare workers. Physicians, nurses, and other clinicians working in ERs across the nation or otherwise are spending time away from their families to make sure that people are cared and accounted for.

With all of the crap going on behind the scenes in healthcare and business, it’s easy to forget that in the hospital or clinic, there’s only one focus: making sure the patient gets the care they need. Countless providers are working through burnout with limited resources in 2022, and today I’m mindful of the challenges they face and the organizations and operators behind the scenes working to enable better balance.

Organizations Cutting out the Crap

Finally, I’m thankful for the organizations startups and startups working to find ways to expand access to care, especially those working in the Medicaid space like Cityblock or Circulo; lower healthcare costs or working to deliver more direct patient care with fewer middlemen like Mark Cuban’s Cost Plus Drugs, Mishe, Turquoise Health, Nomi Health, and ASCs & other provider organizations working on price transparency with patients; and organizations working to enable clinicians to push toward value-based care or improve clinical workflows like Aledade, Pearl, Ease, and Awell.

Miscellaneous Maddenings

  • This Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, I wanted to share some of my favorite healthcare related deals!
    • 20% off a colonoscopy using code “PRIORAUTH” through UnitedHealthcare
    • All-time great deals on several healthcare stocks!
      • 97% off SmileDirectClub
      • 96.4% off UpHealth
      • 95% off Babylon
      • 94.9% off ATI Physical Therapy
      • 94.6% off Bright Health
      • 93.5% off Talkspace
      • 91.9% off Clover
      • 91.8% off Oscar Health
      • 90.7% off GoodRx
    • (In case you can’t tell, these are all jokes so please don’t try to redeem colonoscopy discounts through UnitedHealthcare). This bit was inspired by Rik Renard’s great tweet
  • On a more personal note, this Thanksgiving I’m thankful for family, an 8-win Longhorn season, the Workweek fam, and all of you who choose to read this crazy healthcare newsletter. It’s been a wild, fun ride since I launched officially in April under Hospitalogy (shout out to the Healthy Muse, IYKYK), and I’m having a blast.

That’s it for this week! Join 11,000+ executives and investors from leading healthcare organizations including HCA, Optum, and Tenet, nonprofit health systems including Providence, Ascension, and Atrium, as well as leading digital health firms like Tia, Carbon Health, and Aledade by subscribing here!