With one-third of medical waste generated every year coming from private clinics and practices, that’s a whopping 1.9 million tons requiring safe disposal. Managing medical waste is one of the least pleasant aspects of practice administration but one of the most essential, which means it's likely one of your priorities. When the medical team resists complying with your hard-won methods, your waste management vendor treats you like just another number, and you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place, it’s time to identify a service provider who works for you. Here’s what you should be looking for.
Responsible, Appropriate Treatment Protocols
It’s a painful fact that in terms of ‘cradle to the grave’ liability your responsibility for regulated, infectious and biomedical waste only ends when it has been completely destroyed. This means the longer it takes to document, package, treat, transport, and dispose of waste, the longer your medical facility is on the hook. The vendor you choose, therefore, needs to have very clear practices for handling biological waste, contaminated sharps, pathological and pharmaceutical materials, controlled substances, and chemotherapy waste.?
You also need to be certain the vendor is in compliance with all regulations and guidelines that apply in your region. Choosing a company for your medical waste collection with a strong local presence not only ensures familiarity with legal procedures, but conveniently-located treatment facilities mean your waste covers a smaller geographic area during transportation. This gives greater control over your risk levels, as well as being environmentally sustainable.
Budget-Friendly Cost Structure
Managing a medical practice is challenging, and there’s no room in your day for unnecessary expenditure. You have a budget you’ve sweated over to get approved, and your performance appraisal is doubtless dependent on how well you manage to adhere to it. When you commit to a service agreement for medical waste removal, and then find yourself forking out for additional services you shouldn’t need in the first place, it can be a very sore point.
Select a waste removal company who understands your budget. Choose a team with a cost structure aimed at institutions in your size and category, who have experience in the type of dilemmas your industry experiences, and make sure the service agreement you sign incorporates all your requirements.
A Schedule that Works for Your Institution
Many large waste removal companies operate on their own schedules, based on the needs of their major clients. Smaller institutions can feel like an afterthought, forced to go along with the schedules available for collecting your medical waste. The frequency of pickups depends on the type of waste you generate, with certain types being the culprit of offensive odors far more quickly than others.
Frequencies also depend on the amount of secure storage space you have for waste, and the resources available for packaging it appropriately. In some instances, you may need to have waste collected even if you still have capacity, because of other considerations.
When you’re researching a new waste management vendor, be sure to evaluate only companies offering the type of scheduling you need. Your vendor should also have a flexible, on-call option for situations when you have unexpected quantities of medical waste to be collected.
Strong Customer Service Orientation
Have you ever felt once you sign an agreement with a service provider, you seem to lose your value as a client in their eyes? It’s almost as if “landing” you makes you instantly less important to them, and suddenly they seem to feel it’s acceptable to provide you with poor service. With medical waste, you can’t afford this kind of treatment.
You also need a vendor who offers the necessary compliance training for your medical and cleaning teams, to ensure they know exactly what is expected of them when dealing with medical waste. With OSHA, DOT and HIPAA all involved to some degree in the management and destruction of waste, you can’t afford for your company to slip up because of an oversight.
Taking the Plunge
If any of these scenarios resonate with you, it’s time you revisit the way your medical waste is being managed. Download our eBook, which is a handy guide on best practices to follow at every step in your medical waste management process. Use it to help you assess whether your current procedures are leaving your organization exposed to too much risk.