COVID-19 patients struggle to pay bills long after being hospitalized

COVID-19 patients struggle to pay bills long after being hospitalized
COVID-19 patients struggle to pay bills long after being hospitalized
Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 2:32 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (Great Health Divide) - Sam Woodruff just got home from another stay at the Cleveland Clinic.

“I’ve been in the hospital on and off for four months,” said Woodruff.

For months, the 66-year-old was in an uphill, hard-fought battle with COVID-19, and then pneumonia.

“Then, I had to go to rehabilitation to be able to walk. I was so weak in my legs,” said Woodruff.

More than a million people in Ohio have recovered from COVID-19, and just like Woodruff, their story doesn’t stop once their recovery ended.

“They sent me letters, but then I had a stack of them in the mail so high,” said Woodruff.

Bills had been piling up while he was fighting for his life, resulting in his phone being cut off.

Now, he may lose his home; a house he’s lived in for 15 years.

“Trying not to be so much stress put on me,” said Woodruff “I’m not the person I need to be to fight these battles.”

So the 19 News team picked up the phone and called the city of Hudson, who redirected us to Twinsburg Township.

“I was just in limbo, just a person that don’t have nothing. I was outright homeless,” said Woodruff.

Township manager Rob Kagler took down Woodruff’s information and got back to us within hours. He promised to help the 66-year-old with his next battle, and hopefully get him some county grants that could settle his mounting debt.

“I know everything’s confusing right now, and you know I’ve seen a lot of stuff. I just want my stuff back,” said Woodruff.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 167, providing more than $400 million to those who need help with rent and utilities; a much needed life line for many Ohioans, including Woodruff.

“I don’t want to lose my stuff. I worked a lifetime for my stuff,” said Woodruff.

But help is on the way. So hopefully, he won’t have to.

Great Health Divide is an initiative addressing health disparities in the Mississippi Delta and Appalachia funded in part by the Google News Initiative.

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