Buy or Lease Diagnostic Imaging Equipment?

January 6, 2024

For healthcare organizations, achieving positive patient outcomes is the top priority. Medical imaging plays a key role in making a diagnosis and determining the right course of treatment.

Large hospital systems are often looking for ways to offer diagnostic capabilities to all satellite locations, bringing the convenience of imaging right to their patients. Smaller practices may be trying to introduce diagnostics into their facilities to open up a new revenue stream. Whatever the reason for wanting to acquire new diagnostic imaging equipment, Associates in Medical Imaging offers a managed solution for you.

This post will take a closer look at whether buying or leasing is the right approach. As you might expect, there isn’t one answer that will apply to every facility. Some businesses will be in a position to make an outright purchase, while others will be served well by an operational lease agreement. If you’d like to discuss this topic directly with our team, feel free to reach out today for assistance.

Facing Capital Constraints?

There’s no way around it—hospitals need to acquire diagnostic imaging equipment. But you’re not given a proper budget for these assets. Maybe you already have equipment at your facility, but it’s old and outdated or needs repairs that you don’t have the money for. Maybe you’re in need of updated equipment but are facing capital constraints that make it impossible to do so.

Capital budgets have been severely cut back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the volume of diagnostic imaging needed is higher than ever. So how do you stay on top of the demand when you don’t have a dedicated budget for equipment? When you’re facing capital constraints and still need upgraded equipment, this is where AIMI fits in perfectly.

While some organizations insist on purchasing equipment themselves to have more control or invest in assets, there are some undeniable cons of making a big purchase like that:

  • Antiquated Equipment - Having a piece of equipment in your facility that fully belongs to you may seem like a plus, but it’s only losing value as newer models are being released. Purchasing does not give you the flexibility or freedom to swap for more advanced technology.
  • Costly Repairs - When your equipment breaks down, it’s up to you to cover the costs of repairs or replacement parts. If your MRI machine broke down tomorrow, would you be prepared to cover that cost?
  • Strain on Staff - Finding qualified imaging technicians is harder than ever before, and the demand is high. Purchasing new equipment may only solve part of your need, leaving you scrambling to find rad techs who can actually run the equipment.

Retain Control with an Operational Lease

For many businesses, leasing medical imaging equipment is going to be the right decision. Those who are willing to look at this topic objectively and think through the various pros and cons will often see that leasing leaves the business with more flexibility and more room for future growth. As we did above, let’s dive into a list of benefits, this time in favor of the leasing method.

  • Lower Barrier to Entry - This is perhaps the key feature of leasing that should not be overlooked. When targeting a particular piece of imaging equipment to add to your facility, leasing will allow you to acquire that equipment faster and cheaper. Rather than waiting for the right time to make such a big purchase, you can turn to an operational lease to get started right away. That means offering better service to your patients and growing your business in a cost-effective way. The value of time is a key component of this debate that should be at the front of your mind. Not to mention having an experienced team at your disposal to set up and manage the equipment.
  • Increased Flexibility - Starting off with a lease agreement allows you to maintain a degree of flexibility that isn’t present when you purchase outright. Perhaps you would like to purchase the equipment later, after you get into the lease and see how the equipment is serving your facility. That is an option in our model, or you may choose to let the lease play out and then upgrade to a different model. Keeping your options open allows you to be able to adapt to changing market conditions and jump on growth opportunities.
  • Freed Up Hospital Capital - In the same light as having increased flexibility, acquiring imaging equipment via an operational lease versus purchasing outright keeps hospital/practice capital open for other expenses. An operational lease allows you to keep these liabilities off your balance sheet.
  • Tax Considerations - Just as with a purchase, you may be able to deduct lease payments as part of your business tax picture. Again, turn to your accounting department for guidance on this matter.
  • Full Control - We shoulder the purchase of the equipment via an operational lease, which still gives you full usability of the technology whenever you need it. With an operational lease, you’re not relinquishing full power to a provider and we’re not trying to trick you into paying more than you should be. All costs incurred are actual, and we have dedicated pre-determined purchase options that you can exercise.
  • Take a Test Run - As a physician practice that does not currently offer diagnostic imaging, leasing gives you the opportunity to “test drive” equipment. If it turns out to be a profitable move for your practice, you can make informed decisions at the end of your lease term. If it doesn’t work out well for your practice, then you’ve avoided locking yourself in with equipment you own.

The two key benefits to remember here are the lower barrier to entry and the improved flexibility of an operational lease arrangement. For many health care facilities, those two advantages will swing the pendulum in favor of using a lease to acquire new imaging equipment. Learn more about AIMI’s financial structure.

How Can We Help?

If you are ready to get started with an operational lease for your medical imaging equipment, contact Associates in Medical Imaging today for assistance. Of course, if you still have questions about whether buying or leasing is best for your organization, you can get a free cost-benefit analysis to analyze the potential cost savings.

Categories: Medical Imaging

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