September 5, 2017

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Kevin Webber
Questions to Ask When Selecting a Medical Waste Provider

There are many important decisions that need to be made in the daily business of running a medical practice. Without access to the information needed to make an informed decision that is appropriate for your facility, operational decisions can be time-consuming and become stressful. To help, we’ve put together a resource of suggested questions to help you efficiently and effectively evaluate your options when selecting a medical waste disposal provider.

The Company

Are you a locally owned and operated company?

Doing business with a local company means that you are supporting the local economy. It also means that the company’s core values are rooted in your community.  

Are you a full service waste management company?

A full service company can give you the assurance that comes from handling your medical waste disposal process from beginning to end, including ensuring compliance through training and proper documentation.

The Service Agreement

Will you raise my rate during the term of our agreement?

Understand any charges related to empty containers, additional containers or unscheduled pickups.   

Are there any hidden fees or penalties for early termination?

Fully discuss all terms of the company’s service agreement so that there are no surprises.

Services

Do you have your own treatment facility? If so, where is it located?

If a company has their own treatment facility, they are in control of the most important part of the waste management process as well as pickup. Ideally, your waste should not be handed off to a third party at any point during the treatment process. If the treatment facility is located nearby, that means your waste will be on the road less, which decreases risk even more.

Does any other company handle my waste during any part of the disposal process?

Know where your waste is going and who is handling it. For example, if  the company hands off your waste to a third party for disposal, it could be important to know what landfill they use and if they have a relationship with the facility.  

Is your pickup schedule flexible?

Re-routing trucks can be expensive for a company that doesn’t have a variety of vehicles available for waste pickups, and that cost is passed along to their customers. Make sure your schedule is met; not theirs. Also, know how your waste management company routes their trucks. Are they coming from long distances? If so, flexible pickups will be more difficult.  

Who do I call if I have a problem and how long will it take for a response?

A national medical waste disposal company may use out-of-state customer service reps who are not available for immediate responses. A local company can be more quick and responsive.

What happens if, for some reason (inclement weather, scheduling, etc.) a pickup is missed?

Make sure the company has the resources to quickly reschedule pickups in the event of inclement weather or a scheduling mess. (For example: Are smaller vehicles available for a quick pickup?) Knowing your waste management company’s route is important as well; is the route in your area run once a week or once a month?

Compliance

Do you offer compliance training programs for my staff?  If so, do I have to pay more to access the training?

Most companies provide compliance training; however, some may tack on additional fees instead of including training with all of their customer service agreements.

Do you carry the necessary permits to be compliant?

Doing business with a medical waste disposal company that does not have a transporter permit does increase your liability.

What documentation do you provide?

At a minimum, the company should provide a manifest document and a certificate of destruction after your waste is destructed.  Some companies give a certificate of destruction at pick up; that is not proper since your waste is not treated at that point.

Safety

Is your staff trained and fully vetted?

Any person who prepares or transports hazardous waste is subject to DOT training requirements. Drivers are required to complete DOT and OSHA training as well as submit to random drug testing.

What safety protocols do you have on your vehicles?

In the event of an emergency, drivers need to be prepared follow the proper procedures as required by law. These procedures for spills or accidents minimize exposure to the company’s employees and to the general public throughout the process of collecting, transporting, and handling.

 

Customers

Who are your two largest customers? (Get references.)

Who are your two smallest customers? (Get references.)

By asking for the company’s largest and smallest customers, you will get an idea of how scalable their services are and whether or not they offer the same level of service to every customer, regardless of size.

 

Failure to select a reliable medical waste service provider can have serious implications for your medical practice, in terms of service, liability and risk. Asking these questions can help you determine which medical waste service provider is the right choice for your practice.

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