partner with HealthFirst
Clearwater Valley and St. Mary’s Hospitals will partner with a healthcare financing company, HealthFirst, to help patients pay their outstanding payments beginning this January. HealthFirst is based in Eugene, Oregon.
According to Lenne Bonner, CFO for both facilities, the partnership with HealthFirst will benefit the patient, the hospitals, their seven medical and five physical therapy clinics. “The services through this company are designed for our self pay patients and those patients who have a balance due once their insurance has paid their portion,” said Bonner. “Patients will have the opportunity to pay the hospital directly within a certain time frame. They will receive a discount if their bill is paid in full within 30 days of the first statement. If this is not possible we will carry the balance interest free if it is paid quickly in three timely installments. If these two options are not chosen we will offer the services of HealthFirst to our patients.”
Some people are not in a financial position to pay their balance in a timely fashion. Our goal is to provide them with options, said Bonner. “Although most people have the best of intentions, in the past our hospitals did not charge interest on late payments. We found that people tend to first pay their bills that accrue interest and set aside those that don’t. That makes sense, but in today’s economic climate we’re reassessing some of our business practices because ultimately if we want to continue providing health care now and in the future we have to align our business practices with what other businesses are doing.”
HealthFirst Financial offers low interest rates and terms of up to 60 months. They are known for their consistent follow up and quality customer service. Patients can view their account online. They also offer a lending program similar to a bank loan,
HealthFirst Solutions, which requires no credit qualification terms and can help a person establish a good credit rating.
“We fully researched companies to partner with and have heard only good things about HealthFirst. Contracting with them will also be a better use of our resources. We currently have staff dedicated to managing our accounts receivable, but if we work with this company we can use our staff in other areas and reduce our administrative overhead,” said Bonner. “However, we will definitely maintain contact with our patients and continue to track and support their payment efforts.”
Last year the hospitals provided $500,000 in charity care and $1.5 million in bad debt.
The website for HealthFirst is www.healthfirstfinancial.com.