Partner Rebecca E. Gwilt offers advice on how medical practices can manage vendor relations

The following is an excerpt of the article published on (Steph Weber) on March 25, 2016

"The pre-contract vendor selection process gives the practice a chance to define its expectations, and the vendor the chance to explain how it will meet those expectations," said Rebecca Gwilt, a healthcare attorney and consultant at Nixon Law Group, LLC in Richmond, Va. "A physician may want to make a list of questions that reflect their minimum requirements for a vendor and submit that in advance."

Take the time to ask for several references and make sure you understand the amount of training and support that is included in the pricing. The more complex the product or service — like an EHR or practice management system — the more important it is to identify if the vendor has staying power and adequate insurance. This information may keep you from engaging with a fly-by-night vendor.

"The amount of effort a practice should expend on vetting and negotiating terms with a vendor depends on the importance of the task [being outsourced]," said Gwilt. "Small practices don’t have the time to spend doing due diligence on every single vendor." She recommends that each outsourced task is ranked according to whether it proposes a compliance risk or has an effect on operations and revenue collections.

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