“When a friend asked my opinion about health cost sharing ministries—specifically Christian Healthcare Ministries—I admitted I didn’t know much about them. His question spurred me to research the concept. What I found was an incredible program—so much so that I recommended CHM to my friend and signed up myself.”
Dr. Jeff Erdner, co-owner and chief medical officer of three free-standing emergency rooms in Arlington, Fort Worth and San Antonio, Texas, joined CHM’s Gold and Brother’s Keeper programs along with his wife and four children in Aug. 2015.
“I was drawn to CHM for many reasons. I appreciated its budget friendliness, but what excited me the most is knowing that our family won’t be violating our religious and moral beliefs,” he said. “Too, I love the idea that CHM is a ministry of Christians helping Christians.”
Each location of his practice, The Emergency Center LLC, or TEC, resembles a traditional hospital emergency room. Each facility is fully-equipped for doctors and nurses to treat conditions for which patients seek emergency room care.
Dr. Erdner has practiced emergency medicine since 2004. His medical billing experience gives him unique insight into what healthcare providers need—and want—to know from CHM members.
“It’s important for patients to understand a provider’s perspective before starting that initial conversation,” he said. “Keep in mind that providers daily encounter patients who say they have healthcare coverage when they actually don’t.” The provider, Dr. Erdner explained, is left to pay the expenses. “Additionally, once the doctor-patient relationship has been established, there are sometimes legal obligations to provide future care, knowing that they won’t receive payment for those services.”
Dr. Erdner noted, however, that members can take steps to favorably present CHM to providers. “Calling and explaining CHM to your provider before you make an appointment can help pave the way. If they’re not familiar with CHM, a little advance notice gives them sufficient time to review the CHM website, ask questions or call the ministry for more information.”
He also encouraged members to keep their membership card handy. “Presenting your membership card speaks volumes about CHM’s credibility—another reassurance that your provider will be paid.”
Dr. Erdner said that it’s to healthcare providers’ advantage to see patients who are members of health cost sharing programs—and members should feel empowered to tell their providers about the advantages. “At TEC, we’ve found that health cost sharing ministry members have historically been responsible in paying their out-of-pocket expenses in a reasonable time period. It’s usually easy to work with them.”
He added, “There is less red tape and fewer hoops for healthcare providers to jump through, and in my experience they’re usually happy to work with a CHM member once they come to understand the program.”
*Editor’s note: If your providers aren’t familiar with CHM, you can view some helpful tips at on our provider interaction page or point them to our providers page for answers to some of their most frequently asked questions.