By Roxanne Achong-Coan OD, FAAO, FIAOMC, FSLS
This article is part of the six-part series, “Insights to Impact.” Articles in this series detail the insights that 2020 taught optometry and how those insights translate to actions that are having a positive impact on the profession.
Nov. 17, 2021
In a practice like mine, with wide-spanning medical eyecare and an orthokeratology niche, a pandemic that crippled our economy had the potential to be especially devastating. With many of our services outside insurance coverage, patients in the best of times may be hesitant. With a public crisis causing added financial pressure on many families, that hesitancy increased. Fortunately, we have a payment option, CareCredit credit card, that helped many of our patients continue to receive their full treatment plan. Here is the difference patient financing with the CareCredit card has made to our patients and practice during this difficult time.
Offer Patients Flexibility When They Most Need It
We have offered CareCredit at our practice for approximately 15 years, and have been in practice for about 20 years. We decided to make CareCredit a part of our practice because we wanted to offer the patient more flexibility in their payment for their services and retail products.
With so much uncertainty, it helped over the last year that we could make it easier for patients to continue to receive the products and services which our doctors felt would benefit them and their families.
5 Insights to Impact
Offer Flexibility. In trying times, patients value a provider who can meet them halfway. Patient financing with the CareCredit card gives patients options in how they manage financially while receiving the care they need.
Provide the Doctoring You Became an OD to Provide. Hard times call for great doctors. Giving patients the option of paying via financing helps them benefit from your doctoring. You are able to help patients receive the care you are ready to provide and expert at delivering.
Preserve Cash Flow. You have to both care for patients and your practice during difficult times. That means preserving cash flow. Patient financing with the CareCredit card can increase the number and amount of transactions in your office, helping to ensure a strong cash flow.
Maintain a Strong Per-Patient Revenue. Patients continue to need medical eyecare, nutraceuticals, eyewear and contact lenses during a crisis, sometimes even more so. Patient financing can help power patients’ ability to access these products and services while boosting your practice’s per-patient revenue.
Make a Strong Recovery More Likely. A practice that has maintained its cash flow and per-patient revenue during a challenging year can be poised for a strong recovery in which the practice may be able to look forward to years of growth and new, care-enhancing services.
Be the Doctor You Want to Be: Make It Easier for Patients to Fulfill Treatment Plans
CareCredit helps my patients fulfill their full treatment plan since it offers them promotional financing options such as no interest if paid in full for 6,12, 18 or 24 months*. The patient can select the financing option and how much they can afford based on their personal budgets.
That means the child whose long-term eye health we are helping to safeguard with myopia management services may be able to continue their Ortho-K program.
The dry eye patient may be able to continue the treatments that are making such a difference to their comfort and well-being, and the young professional who is spending hours on end on their computer for both work and socializing during the pandemic may be able to have their eye strain addressed with computer glasses that filter potentially harmful blue light out.
Keep Your Cash Flow Strong Even During Turbulent Times
CareCredit has made a positive impact on our practice’s ability to maintain an optimal cash flow because the patient’s payments are credited to our accounts within a few days.
The financial pressure of the pandemic made me realize that we are constantly planning and ensuring that we always have a strong cash flow. There is the saying, “Always save for a rainy day,” and fortunately we have also saved for a few rainy months. As a result, when our state was on lockdown during the pandemic, we were able to easily cover our fixed expenses and had extra to spare.
We did have a huge financial loss during the pandemic, but having an optimal cash flow prevented us from having to get a line of credit, and enabled us to retain all of our employees and keep our doors open.
My cash flow is good, but there is always room for improvement. My cash flow would not be as good as it is if patients did not have an option to finance. The ability to finance makes it more likely that the patient buys multiple pairs of glasses, an annual supply of contact lenses, or pays for specialty services. Being able to make these payments over time often makes the difference between a patient being able to receive the services and having to forgo the treatment plan. By extension, it makes the difference between a practice with a strong cash flow and one that flounders during a crisis.
Maintain a Strong Per-Patient Revenue
Our per-patient revenue for patients using CareCredit is more when compared to per-patient revenue for patients who are not using CareCredit.
Patients use CareCredit for high-end procedures such as specialty contact lenses, myopia management, dry eye treatments, multiple pairs of glasses and neutraceuticals. There has been a higher demand for blue light protection, and since more patients are working or learning on a digital device, more patients are using–and buying–computer glasses from us.
Pave the Way for a Strong Recovery
We monitor cash flow with our accounting program in which we are able to pull up a profit and loss statement every quarter. Our cash flow is continuing to slowly increase as more patients also have their own cash flow increase. More patients are returning to work and more businesses are reopening. Fortunately, we have already recovered from the pandemic.
Payment solutions like CareCredit during a time of crisis and turmoil make all the difference to an independent practice. It has helped us continue serving patients while staying financially strong.
|Roxanne Achong-Coan OD, FAAO, FIAOMC, FSLS, is a partner with Coan Eye Care & Optical Boutique in Ocoee, Fla. To contact her: firstname.lastname@example.org|
* Subject to credit approval. Minimum monthly payments required. See carecredit.com for details.
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