In the complex world of healthcare, one persistent issue has been the financial burden that often comes with receiving medical care.
The experience of navigating medical bills hit home for Chris Blakeley, co-founder of Repatient, when his young daughter faced a hospital stay. While the medical care was excellent, the billing process proved challenging. Chris found that the available payment options were limited and financially straining.
This experience ignited his determination to transform the patient billing and payment system, making it more affordable and flexible. Together with his co-founder Tim Rooney, who shared his vision, they set out to establish Repatient. Their mission is to ensure that patients no longer have to make difficult choices between their health and their finances.
In this Q&A, Chris shares his journey and insights into the future of healthcare financing.
How did you become interested in healthcare?
CB: Everyone in this country will have to interact with the U.S. healthcare system regularly throughout their lives. Improving the healthcare experience allows our team to have a positive impact on the most people possible.
What inspired you to co-found a company?
CB: When my youngest daughter was 11 months old, she had RSV and was hospitalized for six days. While she received excellent care from the doctors and nurses, the billing experience left much to be desired. Our options to pay the $2,000 in incurred medical expenses were limited and unaffordable. After that experience, I decided I wanted to improve the patient billing and payment process and provide patients with affordable and flexible options to pay for their healthcare without having to make sacrifices to their health due to costs.
If you can make four payments on a pair of Air Jordans on DicksSportingGoods.com, you should be able to just as easily pay for your healthcare over time in an affordable manner.
Tell us about your team: Who’s on it, and how did you meet?
CB: We are a team of three full-time. I am a co-founder and the COO/CTO. Tim Rooney is my cofounder and our CEO. Tim and I met through a mutual connection who is also one of our investors now. We both had a desire to help fix the patient billing and payment process, so we got to work on Repatient. Aaron Crowell joined us in November 2021 and is our Head of Growth. Tim and I were looking for someone to lead our Sales and Growth efforts, and I was introduced to Aaron by a mutual friend.
Where do you see health financing headed in the future?
CB: We are headed to a more consumer-centric approach that mirrors and builds on the capabilities that are available in other segments of the economy. Hospitals and providers deserve to be paid for the care they provide to patients, but no patient should have to delay care because they cannot afford it or be driven into bankruptcy just because they need healthcare. If you can make four payments on a pair of Air Jordans on DicksSportingGoods.com, you should be able to just as easily pay for your healthcare over time in an affordable manner. That is what we are offering at Repatient: flexibility and affordability to pay your healthcare expenses.
What does success look like to Repatient in the short term and long term?
CB: Our mission is to make paying for healthcare easier. Long term success for us is ensuring every hospital and provider can continue to offer great care to their patients and that patients have affordable options to pay for their healthcare and live their best lives. Short term success is refining and optimizing our billing and payment model to ensure hospitals and providers can improve their bottom lines, remain open, and continue to offer great care to their patients.