Tahoe Forest Health System: All Payment Plans Are Interest-Free for Close-Knit Community

In the above two examples, HELP payment plans are interest-free for the first 12 months. Some organizations may want to give patients even more flexibility to pay off loans without interest for longer periods. For example, Tahoe Forest Health System is a rural healthcare facility in northern California with a close local connection.

“We’re a community supported not-for-profit rural care facility,” said Crystal Jefferson, director of patient access. “Word travels fast in our small community, so our reputation is really important to us.”

“We were really looking for a good option for our patient payment plans that didn’t involve us having to manage them internally,” said Victoria Morgan, director of revenue cycle. “We also wanted to make sure that it was really fair for patients.”

Beginning in 2017, Tahoe Forest Health System worked with HELP to offer payment plans that are interest-free regardless of length—up to 72 months. HELP also took over Tahoe Forest Health System’s existing payment plans, valued at $970,000. As noted in the previous examples, HELP also provided brochures and letters for patients who were converted from existing payment plans.

“We had a great roll out of education to the community about this new program,” said Jefferson. “HELP developed some really nice marketing materials for us to be able to put in the patient’s hands.”

Even with all HELP payment plans being interest-free, Tahoe Forest Health System’s recourse rate has only been 3.8%. The total value of payment plans funded by HELP since 2017 has been $4.8 million, which represents just over 2% of the organization’s net patient revenue. While the financial impact of the HELP partnership has been important, the overall customer experience has been even more meaningful.

“Patients embraced it and it was a win for them,” Jefferson said. “They could track their payments a lot more easily, and they could sign up themselves, which was really nice. And since we weren’t charging interest, it was really well received.”