Medical Waste Disposal Companies: Checklist to Get the Best Deal

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When choosing a medical waste disposal business to help you get rid of your biomedical waste, it’s important to consider several key things. Regardless of what sort of medical or dental profession you practice, it’s certain that you will generate medical waste in your daily patient care, and you’re going to need a company that specializes in infectious waste removal to dispose of it for you. As with any type of service business, some are better than others.

A quick checklist for choosing a medical waste disposal provider

Whether you’re starting a new practice, or evaluating your current provider, this quick checklist should help you to find a great service at reasonable prices.

Are the Staff Friendly?

The level of quality service is almost always proportional to how friendly and helpful the staff is. To be sure you’ve found a company that cares more about you than about the money they’ll make, be sure to ask a few questions and see how they answer. If they’re quick to respond and answer your questions effectively, it’s a good sign you’re on the right track. If not, it might be better to keep looking. Bottom line? Find a company that cares.

Also, it would be great to know about the drivers. Those are the people you’ll have in your office every few weeks, so ideally you want them to be neat in appearance and friendly to your staff. Try asking other medical or dental offices your area and see if they’re satisfied with the drivers and staff of their disposal company.

Comb Through the Contract

As with any contract, you have to carefully look through them to determine if there are any potential pitfalls. It’s not all about price, though some companies will try to woo you with extremely low prices, only to hide rate increases in legalese mumbo jumbo. There have been reports about price gouging, with some companies reporting individual container charges up to $700! So, just be careful.

One good rule of thumb, if the contract is simple (just a couple of pages) the company usually isn’t concerned with nickel and diming you to death.

Another thing to watch for is the cancellation policy. Usually, companies require you notify them at least 30 days prior to the end of your contract term. However, there are some who write into their contracts a 60 day window, where you can’t notify them before or after this window. If you send in your cancellation notice too early, or you forget, your contract is then automatically renewed.

Also, even if it isn’t stated in the contract, always send in your cancellation notice by certified mail, as cancellation letters have been known to ‘get lost’ in the mail.

Another thing to watch for are hidden fees & surcharges. Some companies charge strange charges like: paperwork fees, maintenance fees, trip fees and other mysterious charges. Stay away from such contracts, as they are almost always an indication of some financial funny business. It is normal, however, for waste pickup services to add a ‘fuel surcharge’ since fuel prices are often a large cost of doing business and can fluctuate so wildly. Just be certain that those surcharges are indexed to the actual cost of fuel, and aren’t a gimmick to add in another high surcharge. You’ll find that most companies are up front about these fees and they’re quite legitimate, just watch out for the more monopolistic companies who tend to care more about their bottom line than providing a reasonably priced service.

Lastly, watch out for the “partial box” policy. Usually, a waste contractor will pick up all boxes that are full, but when a small practice only has one box, and that box isn’t full the driver should take the box anyway, because there is always a minimum charge per trip (usually one box). If the driver doesn’t pick up the box, but you still pay for it, you’ll get billed double for that box when they pick it up next time. So, just be sure the driver will collect one box minimum, even if it’s not full.

Mail Back Disposal

If your practice is smaller in size, located in a rural area, or you just don’t generate much medical waste or sharps, try checking into prices for mail-back disposal. Often you’ll save money since these types of services don’t require regular pickup schedules – you just send it back when it’s full. The other great thing is that there are no contracts with mail-back. You buy a new kit each time you need one. And you’re free to switch providers at any time.

Overall, your best bet is to find an independent medical waste disposal company with which to do business. And this handy checklist should help you make sure you’re getting the best deal.

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