Over the last several months, I’ve been providing information on several key topics that every HME provider should know when it comes to choosing the right communication partner. They’ve included:
- Why are you looking for a communications partner in the first place?
- What technology should you consider?
- What outreach modalities are available?
- Is your company therapy-focused or pure resupply?
- What is the outreach methodology of the communications partner you are considering?
The final piece of information I’d like to share with you is what to look for when presented with a contract. As you know, contracts can be difficult to interpret. With ambiguous words like “hereunder” and “whereof” it’s no wonder that people get anxious about signing them.
I came across an article that provides 6 questions you should ask before signing a contract. Here are my own suggestions after years of reading and signing contracts:
Read the Entire Contract: It amazes me how many people simply glance through a contract (or don’t read it at all) and sign their names on the dotted line, assuming that everything in that contract is meant to protect them. When a contract is presented to you, it is in your best interest to read through the entire document, word for word, and then follow the advice, below.
Don’t Assume Anything: The way contracts are worded can sometimes be misleading and are more often than not, confusing. If you have a question about ANYTHING that you read in the contract, ask for clarification. In addition, don’t be afraid to change anything that doesn’t make sense to you. A contract is reciprocal and should be an agreement between two parties, so you’ll want to be certain that your end of the contract is something you feel comfortable fulfilling.
Look for Fees: Big upfront fees are not required in the communication partner space, so be certain to look for any language that would commit you to pay large sums before you get something in return.
Ask Yourself “What’s Missing?”: This puts you in the driver’s seat before you even read the contract. Make some notes of the items that are critical to you, and then look for them as you read the contract. If something’s missing, be sure it gets in before you sign.
Get a Second Opinion: I’ve read and signed a large number of contracts throughout my career, so I have a pretty good feel for what I need to consider before signing. But, that never stops me from getting other sets of eyes on the contract as well. I often get second, third and fourth opinions because many times, people see things or interpret things differently, which raises a red flag for me to get more clarification. If you don’t take any other advice that I’ve laid out here, don’t ignore this one!
Matthew Dolph is CEO for CareTouch Communications, Inc. and brings 20 years of service management experience to the company’s operations. He has helped design, implement and manage numerous patient communication solutions for CareTouch customers and business partners. He coaches numerous soccer teams and lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.