Saturday, September 15, 2007

Checking For Hidden Costs

Although some agencies charge by the line, page, or minute of recorded dictation time, here are ten important variables which can affect the price one pays for transcription services.

  • Any contract should guarantee a standard rate for a stated period (probably one year) with an indication of when the rate is subject to renegotiation.

  • If transcription is needed on a STAT basis, you should expect to pay a higher rate for rush service. If, for instance, you need fast turnaround (six to twelve hours) on a regular basis, you should expect to pay more than an agency's standard rate.

  • You should always ask if an agency will agree to a "penalty rate" if it fails to deliver transcribed documents within the contracted turnaround time. If so, make sure this rate appears in writing in your contract.

  • If you need to have the transcription agency fax a copy of a transcribed report to your office, an insurance company, or to another physician, you should agree on a price for that particular type of service before signing a contract.

  • If your service agreement involves transporting tapes back and forth and having the agency deliver hard copy to your office, the contract should clearly state which party will cover the cost of any and all courier fees.

  • Check with the agency to see if there is a special charge for retrieving documents which have been lost by your office.

  • If you are dictating into a digital dictation system, make sure that you are dialing a local or a toll-free number. Otherwise, you might end up paying as much as $15 an hour to your local telephone company for toll rates which have nothing whatsoever to do with the cost of transcription.

  • Always ask if the agency offers a discount for a high volume of dictation.

  • Be sure to ask if the agency offers a discount for early payment.

  • Be sure to ask if the work is being performed in the United States.

Next: Politics And Power Games In The Field

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