I am a self-employed optometrist in rural Minnesota. I have always personally struggled with the moral and spiritual decisions related to being a Christian, a health care provider, and a businessperson at the same time. The economic crisis has made this struggle even harder. Jesus and the Bible teach us to help our neighbor and do what we can for them. As a doctor, I'm able to help a lot. However, as a businessperson, I need to charge for my services and products as well. I have patients who need glasses for themselves or their children... but can't afford them, with our current economic crisis. Like many in our country, they have "fallen between the cracks" of our health insurance system. I have a program set up with our local Lions Club to help in paying for glasses - but even then, I wind up donating my services. I have to draw the line somewhere - but it's very difficult. To make my struggles even more difficult, I live and practice in a very small town (population 2200) - so I see my patients every day, and in situations outside the office. Sending patients to collection or small claims court is difficult and can have extensive repercussions. However, writing off unpaid bills affects me, and my family.
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