Danna F. Grear, M.D., is a radiologist and founding partner of The Breast Center, a MANA Clinic in northwest Arkansas. The physicians of MANA hold the MANA Fund with Arkansas Community Foundation. Started to recognize a colleague, the fund supports a benevolence fund for employees facing personal emergencies, and the Murray T Harris scholarship fund assisting students in healthcare fields such as radiology technology and nursing.
In her practice, Dr. Grear sees patients struggling to pay for and navigate the medical system, especially following a cancer diagnosis. “We see patients with and without insurance struggling with medical debt. Many insured patients have high deductibles” said Grear. “Many choose plans with high deductibles because they can’t afford larger monthly premiums. A few thousand dollars of medical debt (before meeting their deductible) can be impossible for many to pay.”
A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. “Many people don’t know what to do, much less how they’ll pay for it.” she said.
“At the Breast Center, patients are seen regardless of their ability to pay,” said Grear. Unfortunately, if a patient does not make an attempt to pay their bill, it may be sent to collections. “We offer to set up payment plans. Paying as little as $5-10 per month keeps an account from being turned to a collection agency. The system really isn’t fair. A $100 account sent to a collection agency can snowball.”
Grear and her husband have a donor-advised fund with the Community Foundation directed primarily to organizations serving patients with medical needs, like Washington Regional Danna F. Grear, M.D. Medical Foundation. “I love what WRMF does. Among many things, through their Cancer Support Home, they provide a ‘navigator’ to patients to help them with whatever they need — childcare, transportation or sometimes simply having their hand held during a difficult treatment.”
As a doctor and fundholder, Grear understands the connection between philanthropy and support for cancer patients. “I’m trying to be more intentional about my charitable giving. The Community Foundation helps me with that. Through our local Philanthropy Club, I am learning more about local nonprofits,” she said. “I just wish I’d started sooner.”