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Archive April 2019 XX, No. 4

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Patient lending solves the out-of-pocket burden for your facility and your patients.

Dan O

Dan O'Connor, Editor-in-Chief


LOAN OFFICER Your patients can pay for treatment not covered by their insurance plans with credit cards and lines of credit that can be arranged quickly in your office.

As patients' out-of-pocket healthcare costs continue to rise, more and more are taking out loans or lines of credit through their surgical facilities to cover their copays and deductibles. At the Gadsden (Ala.) Surgery Center, about 1 in 4 patients applies online or over the phone for a healthcare credit card with deferred (and hopefully no) interest to finance their insurance fees. Most are same-day approved — even those with low or poor credit scores — in a matter of minutes, happily turning their $1,000 deductible into 12 convenient, low monthly payments.

The surgery center is happy, too. Helping patients finance their surgery is a big win for the facility: no cancellations, no accounts receivables and "we get our money up front with no further statements," says Harriet Willoughby, RN, BSN, the CEO (and chief loan officer) of Gadsden Surgery Center, "and we don't have to set up payment plans for our patients, which can drag on and on."

Healthcare providers have traditionally relied on insurance to pay for most of a procedure's costs. But with some predicting that patients will soon supplant insurers as the No. 1 payer — by some estimates, self-pay is close to 30% of hospital and health system payments today — the ability to lock in the patient-pay portion of your facility's revenue is critical. Plus, you're throwing patients a lifeline.

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