Hiring medical waste management services at a surgery center is an essential part of ensuring those centers are in full legal compliance with all medical waste disposal laws. However, not all waste management companies are created equal. Before you commit to any one company, keep the following nine points in mind.

9 Essential Things All Surgery Centers Should Know When Hiring Medical Waste Management Companies

  1. Choose from Full-Service Medical Waste Disposal Companies

Surgery centers are unique in the medical field in that they produce a wide range of waste—everything from pathology waste to expired medications. To accommodate for such a range of waste, you want to work with a full-service company. If you choose a reputable, qualified company, you can have one company handle all your waste types, which cuts down on wasted money, time, and effort.

A full-service company will also have experience and know about every aspect of medical waste removal, including the necessary paperwork they'll need to provide. Remember, you're ultimately responsible for your waste, so make sure your company provides all the information you could need in any given situation.

  1. Choose a Company that Offers OSHA Online Training

Because you see patients and perform medical work, you must ensure your employees go through all necessary OSHA compliance training.

This includes:

  • OSHA bloodborne pathogen training.
  • HIPAA training.
  • Hazard communication standard training.

A qualified company will not only provide these trainings online (for added convenience and cost savings) but will help you track whether all employees have completed the relevant trainings when necessary. For example, OSHA BBP training is required yearly.

  1. Ensure Your Company Has Adequate Experience with Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

Because these types of centers put people under for surgery, they have a wide range of pharmaceutical waste to dispose of. When a center has expired medication or any type of expired medicine, the medical waste management company should have the necessary experience to deal with these items properly.

Knowing how to dispose of expired medication first and foremost entails proper identification because some of those drugs are considered hazardous waste (or even acutely hazardous waste).

The company should also be able to walk you through proper containerizing, shipping, and treatment protocol.

  1. Don't Forget about Document Destruction and HIPAA OSHA Compliance

In order to be fully in OSHA compliance in terms of HIPAA, you need to ensure your patients' medical records are kept secure and then are securely destroyed. Typically, a surgery center is going to have paperwork on a fairly large scale, so document shredding services become a very important facet for your waste management company to offer.

  1. Check Your Company's Drivers Are Fully Trained—for OSHA and DOT

If the drivers of your waste disposal company are dealing with anything hazardous—which is likely given the expired medication disposal necessary at these centers—you should always double-check that the assigned drivers have been through the proper OSHA and DOT training.

It's your waste, and you're ultimately liable should anything happen during transport, so cut back on potential negative ramifications by ensuring your company uses properly qualified, permitted drivers.

  1. Make Sure the Company Has Adequate Insurance to Cover Damages When Transporting Your Medical Waste

Because you assume cradle to grave liability, it's always necessary to ensure the company transporting your waste has adequate insurance to cover an accident (and any subsequent cleanup) involving your waste. This usually means at least $1 million in coverage. Check on this prior to agreeing to work with anybody.

  1. Choose a Company That Puts a High Premium on Customer Service

There's nothing more frustrating than working with a company that doesn't put time and effort into customer service. If you have a question regarding your medical waste, receiving a timely, accurate answer can be a matter of public and environmental safety. Therefore, you should always be able to get somebody on the phone without having to sit through long holds or getting passed from department to department without ever receiving a satisfactory or knowledgeable answer.  

  1. Make Sure the Company's Prices Are Competitive

While you don't want to jump at the lowest price available, companies should be competitive within their geographic region in terms of pricing. Just make sure you're comparing apples to apples when assessing rates. For example, a full-service company is going to have differing rates than a company that doesn't provide those extra services.

  1. Opt for a Waste Management Service Agreement (Rather Than a Waste Management Contract)

Waste management contracts often lock medical centers into long-term deals wherein they are paying for a multitude of services—only some of which they are using. These contracts also usually include hefty breakage fees.

A service agreement, however, often means you aren't locked in, and you merely pay for the services used. This can save you time, money, frustration, and other resources.

For more information about what surgery centers should look for when hiring medical waste disposal companies, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.