CT service contracts: Avoid uncertainty when choosing the appropriate coverage

August 19, 2015
Katie Regan
From the August 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Determining the best service option can feel a little like playing Russian roulette – should you choose the equipment manufacturer (OEM), a third-party service organization, equipment maintenance insurance, asset management, in-house biomedical engineering or a combination of these?

This uncertainty has only been magnified as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began enforcing strict compliance with equipment manufacturers’ maintenance protocols and schedules in 2010. Although this increases hospital accountability and patient safety, it also requires significant upfront costs.

The Joint Commission estimates this change will cost the health care industry between $2 billion and $5 billion. With hospital equipment maintenance increasing 2-3 percent each year and accounting for over $40 billion annually, this equates to between $4,000 and $7,000 per bed, or millions in general expenses for hospitals.

In addition to CMS compliance, there is potential for lost revenue if equipment experiences downtime, and also liability consequences when equipment malfunctions occur due to improper preventive maintenance. Navigating coverage decisions can be overwhelming and confusing, especially for high-impact service areas, such as CT, in which service contracts depend heavily on a combination of several different factors.

Loretta Loncoske

One important thing to keep in mind is that in some cases approximately 40 60 percent of a vendor’s revenue comes from service contracts, which means the vendor is always looking to negotiate the highest level of service at the highest price, regardless of a facility’s needs. With that in mind, here are a few key things to consider when choosing service coverage for CT.

Factors That Influence CT Coverage
• Tube coverage.
• Hours of coverage required for principle cover period and preventive maintenance (PM).
• Base system configuration.
• Peripheral devices.
• Computer Refresh Upgrades
• Remote Diagnostics
• Exam Coverage
• Uptime Guarantee
• Technical and Applications Support
• Phone and On-Site Response times
• ACR Support
• Radiation Dose Watch with Reporting Tools and Analytics

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