Health care providers are using the cash to pay for equipment that was never intended for use, including new surgical equipment and equipment for a new type of blood test called electrocardiography.
As hospitals become increasingly dependent on the Internet to help them track patients, they have been using these purchases to pay off debts they never thought they had to pay, said Scott Gertz, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York who tracks the medical equipment industry.
The practice of using cash for equipment purchases is known as “debt service.”
It can be an attractive business model for hospitals, said Gerts, who has researched and written about this topic extensively.
Hospitals are already paying for the drugs they used to treat the Ebola virus.
Hospices have been spending tens of millions of dollars on them, he said.
Hospitals have also been paying for other new equipment, such as equipment for new CT scanners, which are used in many hospitals.
But most of these purchases are for equipment the hospitals never intended to use, Gerty said.
Hospres have been paying off debts from the Ebola pandemic for months, and have been buying more and more of these types of equipment, he added.
Health care providers have also bought equipment from non-medical sources.
Hospains have been charging people for their insurance policies, for instance.
But that is not an illegal practice.
And the equipment they buy can be used for anything from emergency medicine to diagnostic tests, Guths said.
The reason hospitals are not paying for these purchases is that they were never intended by the companies to be used.
Hospes typically pay off their debt, or have some sort of credit line to make up the difference, Gretz said.
They are also getting used equipment at a time when demand for these items is increasing, Geths said, and hospitals are increasingly concerned about their ability to maintain equipment.
In the last few months, hospitals have begun buying a variety of new equipment for diagnostic and treatment testing, including a new blood test known as electrocardiopulmonary resuscitation, or EPR.
This new technology, which is being used in a few hospitals, allows doctors to quickly diagnose patients and give them medication.
Hospers are also using this equipment to monitor patients for signs of respiratory infections and other conditions.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, chief medical officer of the National Hospitals Association, said hospitals are using EPR to track patients for more than a year now, but it has been hard to find anyone who has bought it.
Kolodny said the hospitals are finding ways to make this technology work, such that the new tests work better and can detect more serious illnesses.
But, Kolody said, the technology is not ready for prime time, and the new devices are not yet ready for use.
Hospicare is working with the Food and Drug Administration to develop new technology that can use EPR in more clinical settings.
Hosps have also asked for permission from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use EMR for some new tests.
Hospics are also requesting permission from regulators to use the technology for some tests that have not yet been approved, including those for hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS.
But Kolodin said hospitals can only use EHR when they have a clinical indication.
Hospos have been looking for ways to use this technology to make EMR more accessible, so they can begin using it in hospitals.
Hospits have also hired some outside consultants to help with their implementation of EHR.
Hospies say they have not been able to find outside help to help manage the rollout of this technology, Kolodoin said.
He said Hospitals should also be more careful about the way they handle the technology.
Hospities should not give out sensitive information about patients, such the type of EPR test they are using, to anyone else, he urged.
The technology may be a useful tool for diagnosing and treating serious illnesses, but Hospitals must take steps to make it safe and secure.
Hospots have said they are not using EHR for the purposes of screening or monitoring people.
Kolodni said Hospicares are also working with a number of hospitals to use technology for diagnostics that can be performed without the use of EMR, such a drug that detects a certain type of cancer.
Hospiems are also considering how to use some of these technology tests in certain settings, including the outpatient department.
Kolodoins advice is that hospitals should make sure EHR technology is approved by the FDA for use in hospitals before allowing it to be sold to patients.