Laurie Brown, Navarre, OH

Total eligible bills
Provider discounts
Total bills shared

In November 2016 I visited my cardiologist for what was supposed to be a routine heart catheterization. Though I’d had a stent put in a few years earlier, the only symptom I was experiencing was occasional shortness of breath.

My husband, John, and I were stunned to learn that the test showed an 80 percent blockage in my “widow maker” artery. I was immediately scheduled for open heart surgery, which led to a two-week hospital stay. Though I was told the time I remained in the hospital was longer than expected, I assumed there was no reason for concern.

Three short days after my release, I returned to the emergency room due to more shortness of breath and a sustained temperature of 100 degrees. This time, a CT scan showed an even more surprising result: a lung torsion (twisting) that required a lobectomy (lung lobe removal).

Similar to my first incident, I was rushed into emergency surgery.

Lying on a gurney and feeling overwhelmed, I prayed for the Lord’s will to be done while wondering if I’d make it through another major operation, especially so soon after the first one.

Thankfully, the surgery was successful and I began the long road to recovery. However, another journey was about to begin: handling over $250,000 in medical bills.

John and I worked many hours to negotiate discounts and get the paperwork ready to send to CHM for sharing. I admit that, at first, it seemed a daunting task to take such an active role in the expense side of medical care. We’d never done anything like it before.

However, once we got used to it, it became much easier. In retrospect, the only truly challenging part was obtaining discounts from our healthcare providers, not because of unwillingness on their part, but because it sometimes required us to make two or three phone calls reminding them of our situation and request.

We came to the conclusion that the steps CHM requires members to take are necessary for the ministry to honor the Lord and best serve its members, both ethically and financially. We became more and more thankful to be a part of CHM.

As we continued to submit bills to CHM, we were often overwhelmed by the staff’s kindness and members’ generosity in sharing our healthcare costs. We received checks—including Prayer Page donations—that enabled us to meet our monthly financial obligations. We were also greatly encouraged to receive many cards and notes from fellow members who let us know they were praying for us!

In all, we obtained over $147,000 in discounts and thus far CHM members have shared nearly $69,000, leaving about $38,000 yet to be shared via the Prayer Page. Based on the ministry’s track record, we’re confident the remaining amount will soon be shared, too.

Though I wouldn’t again choose to go through two major surgeries in two months, we praise God for the lessons He taught us. We learned that God is faithful to “supply all [our] needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). We also became aware like never before that life is a fleeting, precious gift. Now we thank the Lord each day for the privilege and blessing of waking up and giving us another day to serve and delight in Him.

We also thank God for giving the CHM leadership and staff wisdom to minister to members’ needs in a way that honors Jesus Christ. We recommend CHM to anyone who wishes to honor the Lord regarding their healthcare costs.

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