Case study: Electronic health record system

Lewis Health System Inc. has decided to acquire a new electronic health record system for its Richmond hospital. The system receives clinical data and other patient information from nursing units and other patient care areas, then either displays the information on a screen or stores it for later retrieval by physicians. The system also permits patients to call up their health record on Lewis’s website.

The equipment costs $1,000,000, and, if it were purchased, Lewis could obtain a term loan for the full purchase price at a 10 percent interest rate. Although the equipment has a six-year useful life, it is classified as a special-purpose computer, so it falls into the MACRS three-year class. If the system were purchased, a four-year maintenance contract could be obtained at a cost of $20,000 per year, payable at the beginning of each year. The equipment would be sold after four years, and the best estimate of its residual value at that time is $200,000. However, since real-time display system technology is changing rapidly, the actual residual value is uncertain.

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As an alternative to the borrow-and-buy plan, the equipment manufacturer informed Lewis that Consolidated Leasing would be willing to write a four-year guideline lease on the equipment, including maintenance, for payments of $260,000 at the beginning of each year. Lewis’s marginal federal-plus-state tax rate is 40 percent. You have been asked to analyze the lease-versus-purchase decision, and in the process to answer the following questions:

a. What is the present value cost of owning the equipment?

b. What is the present value cost of leasing the equipment?

c. What is the net advantage to leasing (NAL)?

d. Answer these questions one at a time to see the effect of the change on NAL. That is, starting with the original numbers you used for questions a. and b., what is the NAL if:

– interest rate increases to 12 percent

– the tax rate falls to 34 percent

– maintenance cost increases to $25,000 per year

– residual value falls to $150,000

– the system price increases to $1,050,000e. Do the changes in d. make leasing more or less attractive? Explain. 

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