GE pushes health IT loans

March 23, 2007

"We'll finance everything from small practices to big-system purchases," states Mark Sedlmeier, marketing leader, North America, for GE Commercial Finance, Healthcare Financial Services. He ticks off several advantages that GE has over local banks when it comes to loaning physician money for EHRs and other purposes.

"We'll finance everything from small practices to big-system purchases," states Mark Sedlmeier, marketing leader, North America, for GE Commercial Finance, Healthcare Financial Services. He ticks off several advantages that GE has over local banks when it comes to loaning physician money for EHRs and other purposes.

First, Sedlmeier notes, GE won't pay a vendor until an EHR system is installed in a practice. Thus, having GE behind a practice can provide added leverage, he says, even if the physicians have "milestone" provisions in their contracts.

Also, he points out, his unit of GE lends only to health care entities. That means it understands the nuances of the health care market. For example, he says, the company has modified existing loan arrangements for certain practices that are taking a big hit from CMS' new regulations on imaging reimbursement.

While a number of banks are increasing loans to health care providers, he adds, some are wary of physician practices, partly because they distribute all their money at the end of the year. That can make a balance sheet with a lot of A/R look "scary" to lenders, he says.