Healthcare Business Finds Cure For Their Financing Needs


When your business is cancer care, having the financing to support your practice—from new and improved machines and equipment to physician hires—could mean better outcomes for your patients. To build your practice, it helps to build a relationship with a banking partner.

Dr. Ashvini (Ash) Sengar, a hematologist and medical oncologist, is president of Alabama Cancer Care, which has 10 cancer centers across Alabama, the largest center and corporate office being in Tuscaloosa. This thriving medical practice is home to the largest group of surgeons and urologists in Tuscaloosa; they treat about 90% to 95% of all cancers in their centers. They offer chemotherapy, radiation, a variety of infusions and hemotherapy, immunotherapy, as well as other ancillary infusions like irons and globulins.

Relationship Focused

The ability to form long-term relationships with his patients is why Dr. Sengar chose to go into oncology and hematology: “I’m a relationship guy, and I like it,” he says.

After Dr. Sengar teamed up with Dr. Shelby Sanford at Alabama Cancer Care in 2010, he set out to expand the practice and make things bigger and better in the company. Obviously, a lot of money was needed to do that. And securing the necessary funding wasn’t easy. With oncology, there are a lot of capital expenditures involved, explains Dr. Sengar, and not many banks wanted to take that risk. Then West Alabama Bank stepped onto the scene.

“West Alabama Bank actually—literally—came as a knight in shining armor when we needed them the most,” he says. “That's the biggest praise that I have for them is they were willing to take on the risk and be patient with us. We had to put in new machines, new equipment, hire new physicians among many other things.”

Taking on Risk

It was a tall order, admits Dr. Sengar, even though the bank had had some history with the cancer center prior to him coming on board. West Alabama Bank looked beyond the typical numbers that other banks had focused on—like debt/equity ratio. Instead, the bank considered the core strengths of Alabama Cancer Care and its ability to be able to pay for itself, as well as put their trust in the center’s new joint leadership team.

“The other banks did not want to stretch beyond the usual,’” Dr. Sengar says. So that is where West Alabama Bank was different.”

In business, it’s often said that to make more money, you have to spend more money. In healthcare, better patient care often relies on spending that money, especially on new technologies.

“I have a newfound respect for West Alabama Bank,” says Dr. Sengar, speaking to the bank’s superior customer service, accessibility, and efficiency. “They stand out even among the local banks. But, in general, I feel having a relationship with a local bank rather than just going with a bigger bank makes a lot more sense. You can get a lot more accomplished.”

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