GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- The cost of healthcare keeps going up, and that's putting a lot of pressure on patients who can't afford their prescriptions, doctor visits or even surgeries.
A former Valley firefighter wants to come to the rescue, by creating a new way for people to raise money for their own medical bills.
Dave Graybill spent 20 years saving lives as a Glendale firefighter, and saw firsthand the challenges patients faced paying their medical bills.
"We'd see people losing their homes because of an illness," said Graybill. "They'd be sitting in a bed, in a living room, with no furniture, with the house up for sale."
Graybill and his fellow firefighters would often get frustrated, wanting to help struggling families who didn't have health insurance, or the means to pay for treatment.
But there was only so much they could do, until now.
The former first responder has just created a new way for people to pay for healthcare.
It's called HLTHE, a first-of-its-kind healthcare currency program that allows anyone to raise money for prescriptions, doctor's visits, surgeries and medical treatments.
"When we fund-raise, we usually help a charity or large cause, but we don't direct it to the people who are sick," said Graybill.
What makes the platform unique is that donations can only be spent on healthcare, and donors can track where their money is going.
"The person who's asking for help says, 'hey, listen, I cant touch it, you're giving it to me only for my medical bills,'" said Graybill. "It gives credibility. The difference with us and GoFundMe is, where does your money go when you give to somebody in GoFundMe? You don't know, ever. Someone could post a really good testimonial, cry, and raise $100,000. If they die a week later, where did the money go? In our platform, they cant touch the money."
Eventually, Graybill is hoping to create HLTHE gift cards that you can buy at the store and give to friends, co-workers or loved ones dealing with a medical crisis.
"You would think there would be a gift card for Banner," said Graybill. "You think there would be a gift card for Phoenix Children's Hospital, and there isn't any."
The HLTHE.com website, spelled HLTHE, launched earlier this year, and is already being used by patients across the country to supplement their health insurance and pay out of pocket expenses.
Businesses can also use it to create wellness programs that offer Hlthe cash for rewards.
Graybill is convinced his innovation will change the face of healthcare and help the millions of Americans who can't afford to get sick.
"If you could take all the tips, gifts donations, and rewards in this country that are cash, or through fundraising mechanisms, and connect it to a healthcare currency, you just captured billions of dollars."
For more information on the fundraising platform visit www.hlthe.com.