Tackling Medical Debt and Nurturing the Nursing Workforce: Connecting the Dots

Ben H.

Hatched by Ben H.

Aug 31, 2023

3 min read


Tackling Medical Debt and Nurturing the Nursing Workforce: Connecting the Dots


In today's interconnected world, where healthcare challenges and workforce demands intersect, it is imperative to explore solutions that address both medical debt and the well-being of healthcare professionals. Recent developments, such as the partnership between SCAN Group, CareOregon, and a charitable organization to erase $110 million in medical debt, shed light on the potential for change. Simultaneously, the influx of new nurses into the workforce brings both opportunities and challenges, with burnout looming as a significant concern. By examining these two seemingly unrelated topics, we can uncover common threads and identify actionable steps towards a more sustainable healthcare system.

Addressing Medical Debt:

The burden of medical debt in the United States is an ongoing crisis, affecting individuals and communities across the nation. According to recent reports, nearly 10% of adults carry medical debt worth a collective $195 million. The collaboration between SCAN Group, CareOregon, and a charitable organization highlights the potential for non-traditional solutions. By purchasing medical debt for pennies on the dollar, these organizations have relieved the financial burden for almost 70,000 lower-income individuals. While this initiative serves as a temporary band-aid solution, it also serves as a call to action for the healthcare industry as a whole. Modest-sized companies like SCAN Group and CareOregon demonstrate that other entities within the sector have the capacity to contribute to eradicating medical debt and alleviating the strain it places on communities.

The Nursing Workforce: Opportunities and Challenges:

The nursing profession is undergoing significant shifts, with new nurses entering a landscape of expanded job opportunities and specialization. This generation of nurses has the chance to choose more specialized roles and pursue higher pay. However, nurses who received their training during the COVID-19 pandemic face unique challenges due to a lack of hands-on experience. This lack of practical exposure increases their vulnerability to burnout, a concern that affects both individual nurses and the healthcare system as a whole. Employers within the sector recognize the need to attract and retain nurses, resulting in a wider array of options for new entrants, particularly in primary care and community health. Balancing these opportunities with the need for adequate training and support is crucial to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the nursing workforce.

Connecting the Dots: Finding Solutions:

While medical debt and nursing burnout may seem like disparate issues, there are common points that can guide us towards comprehensive solutions. Recognizing the interconnectedness of these challenges allows us to address them more effectively. Here are three actionable steps that can be taken:

  • 1. Strengthening Support Systems: Investing in comprehensive support systems for nurses, especially those entering the profession during challenging times, can help mitigate burnout. Providing mentorship programs, access to mental health resources, and tailored training can equip nurses with the tools they need to thrive.
  • 2. Collaboration and Innovation: Encouraging collaboration between healthcare organizations, nonprofits, and educational institutions can foster innovative solutions to both medical debt and nursing burnout. By leveraging collective expertise and resources, we can address these issues holistically.
  • 3. Advocacy for Systemic Change: Addressing medical debt requires systemic change within the healthcare industry. By advocating for policy reforms, increased transparency in healthcare costs, and equitable access to quality care, we can work towards a future where medical debt becomes a thing of the past.


As we navigate the complexities of healthcare challenges, it is crucial to find common ground and connect the dots between seemingly unrelated issues. The partnership between SCAN Group, CareOregon, and a charitable organization demonstrates the potential for immediate relief from medical debt. Simultaneously, recognizing the unique needs of new nurses and taking proactive steps to mitigate burnout can lead to a more sustainable nursing workforce. By implementing actionable solutions, strengthening support systems, fostering collaboration, and advocating for systemic change, we can pave the way for a healthcare system that prioritizes the well-being of both patients and healthcare professionals.

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