Imagine living in a world where money didn’t exist. Sounds like a fantasy, right?
One doctor has made this dream a reality by creating transactions that exchange goodwill rather than dollar.
Instead of charging patients for operations, Dr Demetrio Aguila encourages them to repay their debt by volunteering with organisations so that they can give back to the community instead.
This is a revolutionary move in the American healthcare system where medicine costs thousands of dollars and those on low-income have little to no access to treatment.
The cherry on the cake is that this movement could go global and surpass the local Norfolk area of Nebraska where its currently taking place, as fellow doctors have reached out to ask how they can set up a similar system in their neighbourhoods too.
Speaking about the initiative, named The M25 Program, Dr Aguila says he has been honoured by the national and international attention his idea has received.
Dr Aguila said: “One of the things that I’ve found really surprising is the enquiries from doctors and nurses who want to know how they can do this where they live.
“What I’m really hoping to do is inspire other doctors to think outside the box to try and find solutions that fit their community.”
Chatting to a local TV channel, Dr Aguila continued: “As we continue to expand and grow, what I’m hoping for is that other charitable organisations can partner with us and that other healthcare providers can think outside the box and offer similar solutions to their communities.
“That way we can form a network of people that can offer solutions to patients so they can get the care they need without incurring a huge financial burden.”
Prior to surgery, Dr Aguila makes sure every patient is aware of the full cost of their procedure so that they are then able to choose whether they pay in one lump sum, installments, or volunteering.
For those who choose community service work, for example, if they had surgery on the ulnar nerve in their arm, that would amount to $5,000 (£3.6k) and the patient would donate 250 hours to pay.
Taking spiritual inspiration from Bible verse Matthew 25:40 – ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me’ – the core mission is to offer world-class healthcare in a compassionate, innovative, and forward-thinking way.
Dr Aguila also hopes that by keeping medicine affordable and fair, it narrows the divide between rich and poor while keeping the focus on individuals’ health rather than a monetary transaction.
For more information, click here: M25 Program.