As a medical practice that generates medical waste, it's vitally important to receive a medical waste assessment from a reputable, professional, and experienced waste management company. Price is obviously a large factor when selecting such a company, but you also need to be careful to consider long-term as well as short-term costs. That is to say, what could it ultimately end up costing you if you select a disreputable, unprofessional, or inexperienced company?

Medical Waste Assessments: Helping Ensure the Best Waste Management Pricing for Your Medical Practice

What to Expect from a Medical Waste Assessment

If you're working with only reputable medical waste management companies, expect all waste assessments to be offered free of charge. Charging for this initial consultation and assessment is a potential red flag.

In terms of time, the assessment is obviously going to vary from office to office. However, thirty minutes is a reasonable amount of time for a doctors' office. A hospital might run more in the hour and a half range.

Because it should be free and because it takes relatively little time, an assessment is always a good idea—even if your medical waste is already managed. The assessment simply offers you peace of mind that you're not overpaying or out of compliance with new laws and regulations.

Again, a reputable and professional company can offer a lot of valuable insight and information during this assessment about everything from liability to contracts. There's always the possibility, therefore, to learn about a new way to safely cut costs or discover a new waste disposal law that applies to you.

The Waste Management Contract versus the Waste Management Service Agreement

When you receive an assessment at your medical practice, you can begin to address many issues related to the cost of waste management. One of the most important factors in that regard is whether you select a contract or a service agreement for your medical waste management services.

A contract essentially means you're locking yourself into a monthly fee for the stipulated length of the contract (potentially several years). A service agreement, on the other hand, means you're paying only for what services your medical practice uses in that given month.

One of the biggest benefits of an assessment is that it can help you realize what pricing options are available to you. For example, waste management contracts are extremely prevalent within this industry, and some medical practices don't even realize there are more cost-effective alternatives. Being in a multiyear contract can end up meaning a lot of money needlessly spent on waste management services, which an assessment can make clear.

Waste Management Price: Your Medical Practice and OSHA Compliance Training

A thorough assessment will explore all relevant facets of your waste management needs. That includes OSHA compliance training, such as:

  • Bloodborne pathogen training.
  • Hazard communication standard.
  • HIPAA compliance.
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) training.

Again, an assessment can serve as an educational tool. You can learn what these OSHA programs entail and who in your medical practice must participate, which will help ensure you avoid pricy fines.

Identify What Your Medical Practice Has Been Doing Wrong

Even if no willful negligence has been happening in your medical practice, noncompliance is noncompliance—and it can warrant fines or other punitive actions. Not knowing what you needed to do to be compliant (or not even knowing you were noncompliant) is never a valid excuse or way to avoid fines during an audit.

As assessment is one of the easiest ways to pinpoint what specific holes are in your core services. The hard (and expensive) way to find these problems is by waiting for fines to come through after the fact.

The following are some common issues an audit can point out:

  • Improperly labeling waste for shipment.
  • Improperly containerizing waste (wrong containers, labels, or identifying information).
  • Improper red bag waste disposal (putting anything other than regulated medical waste in the red bag).
  • Improper segregation (e.g., sending pathological waste through the autoclaving process rather than medical incineration).

After the Assessment: Peace of Mind and Fine Avoidance

When an assessment is complete, your medical practice can have greater confidence that all waste disposal is being done correctly, safely, and legally.

The largest way an assessment can save you money is by ensuring this compliance and helping you avoid (sometimes hefty) fines.

Even if an assessment determines you need to add a service (once or monthly), that extra fee will be nominal when compared to what you'd be subject to pay in fines if noncompliance was found during an audit.

Ideally, an assessment will find ways to save you money while still ensuring you're fully compliant with all laws and regulations.

For more waste management tips and information about waste management costs, please feel free to contact a representative of MCF Environmental Services, a waste management Atlanta company.