It has come to SONO’s attention that some DME companies have begun agreeing to onerous conditions in their vendor contracts with DME management companies that could cripple your hospice in the future.
Here’s the skinny
Exclusivity – DME management companies requiring DME vendors to become exclusive to them as a condition to the vendors being used by the DME management company AND maintaining that exclusivity for an extended time-period, even when the hospice chooses to no longer use the DME management company – thus locking you out from using the DME vendors you want.
Terms in the agreement that state future addendums to the DME vendor’s contractual agreement which are not acceptable to the vendor can cause the vendor’s existing contract to become null and void for all markets served – thus a vendor’s decision not to accept an amendment to their agreement with the DME management company in one area can remove that vendor from serving you in your service area immediately and in the future.
Non-competes – these prohibit vendors from serving a hospice even after the given DME management company no longer serves that hospice.
Here’s how it can affect you
Your vendor’s signature may limit your hospice to future contracting opportunities, even if you aren’t using a DME management company. Your availability of DME vendors might be in the process of being severely depleted without your knowledge or consent….leaving your hospice in jeopardy.
We contacted Qualis to shed light on this issue. Here’s what they told us.
“Yes, we are hearing from a lot of vendors regarding this development, and hearing from some hospices that are in an absolute panic! While we are a DME management company, we view vendors in our network as Partners and don’t lock our DME partners into any of the horrible limitations you described. To do so would impact vendor choice by hospices serving the industry we are solely committed to.”
Here’s what you can do
Since it’s possible your hospice’s future free market choices are being impacted without your consent, protect yourself and your patients immediately by doing the following:
Ask to see the DME management/vendor agreement if you are using a DME management company.
Have the DME management company agree in writing to remove terms you find offensive with any DME vendor serving your current or anticipated future market(s) that may directly or indirectly impact your hospice.
If you are using one or more vendors directly, let them know you do not want them to agree to any terms proposed to them by a DME management company that could possibly prohibit your hospice from using them directly now or in the future.