Most businesses and organizations in the medical industry cannot afford to purchase needed medical equipment outright. The practical alternatives to purchasing are financing and leasing. Medical equipment financing can be viewed as an investment that allows the organization to have full ownership of the device once they’ve met the loan obligation. Medical equipment leasing, on the other hand, provides the organization with much greater versatility over the long term.
Advantages of Financing
Consider a clinic that requires an MRI machine on the premises. MRI technology is not likely to change significantly over the next decade, and it isn’t likely to fall out of use either. Since an MRI machine is expensive, it presents an ideal scenario for the clinic to acquire it via medical clinic financing. The clinic limits its upfront expenses without greatly increasing its long-term costs.
Disadvantages of Financing
Picture instead that the clinic requires a modular diagnostic system but expects its needs to change in the next several years, such as a plan to move to a new facility. In this scenario, medical clinic financing would actually penalize the clinic once the need for a new diagnostic system arose. At best, the clinic would pay heavy fees to get out from under the loan.
Advantages of Leasing
When medical equipment financing isn’t practical, leasing is often the viable alternative. The greatest benefit to a lease is that it’s very structured and the monthly obligation and total cost of ownership is known. In scenarios where changes are on the horizon, the clinic can opt for leasing, limit its long-term expenses and have the freedom to adapt when those changes manifest.
Disadvantages of Leasing
With medical equipment leasing, the clinic doesn’t own the equipment and may be limited in how it uses the leased item. Perhaps the biggest concern is the long-term costs. In the MRI machine example, if the clinic were to lease rather than buy, leasing would cost substantially more in the end, and there would likely be multiple negotiations required over the total life of the device.
As a general rule, financing is the best option for a clinic or practice for the long term when a large upfront commitment is not possible. There are many different types of loans available to medical organizations that can make financing feasible in almost any financial scenario.