With the new focus of the Affordable Care Act hospitals are under increasing pressure to reduce costs while increasing the quality of care they provide and patient satisfaction. This means that even medical equipment procurement has to be as efficient as possible to help keep overall hospital costs down. So how do you uncover hidden costs and ensure you know what you're paying for?
Selecting the equipment you need may be the clearest part of the process. You can select the equipment you need, at the best price available, and still end up paying too much because you have not addressed some of the associated (hidden?) costs. To make sure you're aware of all the associated costs, you should raise questions regarding these three primary areas involved in medical procurement.
1. What is covered in the delivery charge?
Clarify not only if the delivery charge is included but what it includes.
Is the delivery listed as FOB (freight on board) at the manufacturers location, at a local warehouse, or to the hospital itself?
Does it cover transportation and delivery all the way to the end use area of the facility?
Does it include the cost of returning the equipment if there's a problem?
If they use a delivery service, will that cost be passed on to you?
Is the delivery schedule clear and known to the facility?
Other unexpected costs could arise from having to have staff work after hours to receive the delivery. Be sure to understand the delivery logistics and plan your staffing accordingly.
2. What are the assembly/installation requirements?
Depending on the equipment, there may be electric, HVAC, or structural changes needed to properly install the item at the end user site. Is any of this provided and/or included in the cost of the item?
Testing and verifying that the equipment works properly also needs to be done, and may or may not be covered in the delivery charge. Testing the equipment promptly is imperative in case the equipment needs to be replaced or repaired prior to use. If your facility does not have their own biomed engineering crew available, this could be a real issue.
3. What are the costs for disposal of the replaced equipment and shipping materials?
Some equipment items may actually be re-usable, and therefore re-sellable. This could mean a trade-in price reduction for the new item. Otherwise, there could be a cost to dispose of it properly. Asking about disposal will both help you uncover hidden costs, and ensure that disposal is planned for and so doesn't cause storage space issues after the new item is installed.
Even aside from that, most major equipment items will be delivered in shipping crates or other shipping materials that will need to be disposed of. This may entail additional costs as well.
Asking questions about the entire delivery process, from manufacturer to your end user site, will help make the delivery and installation process happen as expected and avoid costly surprises.
At CME, we can provide a direct-to-site delivery service that will cover all of the issues, helping you avoid the hidden delivery, installation and disposal costs. We serve hospitals, clinics, government entities and other healthcare facilities across the country.
Contact us here to see how our cost-saving equipment procurement services can benefit your institution.