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January 12, 2016

Eisenhower Medical Center to Introduce CarePayment Patient Financing, Expanding Retail-Like Services

By Shannon Conklin

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA and PORTLAND, OR (January 12, 2016) – Eisenhower Medical Center, a not-for-profit hospital, is expanding patient services by adding CarePayment patient financing programs. The move supports the healthcare organization’s successful efforts to adopt consumer retail strategies that engage patients focused on cost and convenience.

Consistent with nationwide trends, Eisenhower Medical Center now serves more patients in its outpatient clinics in California’s Coachella Valley than in its main hospital. CarePayment opens up new opportunities to attract more clinic and hospital patients, who will be able to pay medical bills in affordable monthly installments for up to 36 months at 0.00% APR for the life of the account and with no impact to credit scores.

“We are adapting to our patients’ needs, and that includes moving out into our communities, rolling out a price estimation tool that allows people to better understand the cost at time of treatment and introducing CarePayment,” says Ken Wheat, Chief Financial Officer of Eisenhower Medical Center. “As patients shoulder a growing share of their medical costs, it’s become increasingly important to offer financial options. CarePayment’s programs are as patient-friendly as possible, allowing people to focus on managing their health without worrying about how quickly they must pay for care or adding interest charges to their medical bills.”

Providers also receive important business benefits from offering patient-friendly financing, including boosting patient satisfaction and increasing patient collections. In fact, when the CarePayment program is presented as a payment option upfront, providers see bad debt decline an average of 76%.

“Recognizing that patients represent an increasing share of provider revenues, Eisenhower is taking the right steps to address their need for help in understanding and managing their financial obligations and options, especially before incurring costs for any medical services,” says Craig Hodges, CEO of CarePayment. “Given high out-of-pocket costs for more people, engaging patients financially is increasingly a prerequisite to engaging them clinically.”

Two in five households do not have enough liquid financial assets to cover annual deductibles of up to $2,400 while 49% cannot meet deductibles as high as $5,000, according to a March 2015 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Not surprisingly, then, 14% of people with Medicare coverage and 11% of people with employer-sponsored health insurance say they or a family member spent less on food, heat or other needs in the past 12 months so they would have money to pay for healthcare, according to a KFF poll.

To fill that affordability gap, CarePayment’s patient financing program is a flexible open-end line of credit, not a credit card or loan. Patients can manage their accounts in a variety of ways, including automatic payments, mobile and online account access, and paper or electronic statements.  Patients also can add new medical charges to their accounts.

With CarePayment and its other retail-like services, Eisenhower is a leader in the broader movement to cater to changing patient needs and expectations.A PNC Healthcare survey found that patients want online insurance availability and bill payment and upfront cost estimates. Their wish-list also includes mobile apps so they can actively manage preventive care, health records and appointments, according to Salesforce’s 2015 State of the Connected Patient. While patients will always value quality and safety, they also are looking to their providers for new healthcare experiences and services.