Central Texas – Imagine contacting the hospital to pay your medical bill and getting the news that your debt had been paid off by the hospital.

Well, this happened for hundreds of medical patients across Central Texas.

Everyone reacted to the news differently while attempting to make a payment toward their medical bill at Express ER all to find that their balances no longer existed.

Some were emotional when they got the news.

“Literally, we’ve had people calling crying in tears just thanking us profusely,” says Dr. Daniel Aker, General Manager of Express ER.

Others were in complete shock. Nearly speechless.

“I was just stunned. I just sat there for about ten seconds and was unable to speak. I could not believe it, but that’s the kind of company and organization this is,” says Tim Bench, one of the hundreds to have his medical debt forgiven.

Bench says he’s fortunate not be experiencing the financial hardship plaguing many Americans amid COVID-19 – but now he can focus on maintaining his stability.

Dr. Akers says he grew overwhelmed with hearing about waitresses, artists and other laid-off workers struggle, and he wanted to do something about it.

“After hearing those stories over and over for a comple of weeks now, I just decided one day just to go ahead and forgive all the bills because I think everyone out there is hurting financially right now,” says Akers.

Express ER forgave nearly $600,000 at each of their locations throughout Central Texas, and this added up to about $3.5 million.

They made the bold move even while experiencing lower numbers than normal during the global pandemic.

“Our patient volumes are really low as everyone shelters in place and obeys the CDC guidelines. So because of that, financially, our doctors took a pay cut for this quarter in order for us to be able do this,” says Akers.

Though the staff is taking those paycuts, they aren’t spreading the stress that comes with it. They’re continuing to spread healing this time in the form of debt relief.

“Its just inspiring to have a company that steps forward and says, ‘We’re going to do this to help our patients, and we’re going to do this to help the community out,'” says Bench.