There is little glory in paperwork, unless you’re Jon Springer, an Elders in Action volunteer who last year helped one elderly Portland couple write off more than $300,000 in medical debt. The nonprofit works to provide seniors with a better quality of life. Sometimes that’s as simple as offering a sympathetic ear, and sometimes it means tackling complex issues like medical debt. Springer waded through boxes and boxes of benefit statements, bills, collection letters, and financial aid applications, spent hours making phone calls, leaving messages, even writing e-mails to the associate director of hospital finance at OHSU. “It can be overwhelming,” says Springer, whose seven-year stint as a state employee assists him in navigating the hospital bureaucracy. “You just have to be patient, persistent, and polite.” Find out more about the organization with our web exclusive slideshow.
This article appeared in the November 2009 issue of Portland Monthly.