What does your Service Contract say about Equipment Service?
Do you know exactly what these terms are?
What does your contract say?
2. “OEM Service"
3. “OEM Service contract"
4. “Third Party Service”
5. “Guaranteed Up Time”
If you don’t know the difference, you are headed for a VERY VERY expensive lesson.
1. “OEM Factory Trained Service”…. This is a service engineer that went through OEM training at one time but is no longer employed by the manufacture of the equipment. The person might have recent training, however it might be training that was learned many years ago. There is no guarantee that this individual is current in their experience. Additionally, this person will not have access to proprietary service diagnostics and will require much more time to effectively diagnose service problems resulting in greater down time that you will be paying for. Lastly this person might not even be available because they are responsible for several CT Scanners in several states. This can be very costly and again represents more down time. Replacement parts are a hit and miss proposition. Without dealing directly with the manufacture this service arrangement often results in used and untested parts being installed which might provide a short term fix only to have the system go down again.
2. “OEM Service” Better than above, this person is employed by the equipment manufacture and has full access to state of the art service diagnostics. They can diagnose problems more quickly. OEM Service only states that the Lessor will pay to fix your problem. What is missing here is the understanding that if your system is down and another “OEM’ Contracted System is down you will receive lower priority and will be serviced last. You will not likely be able to initiate a service call because the hourly billing (normally about $500.00 per hour) will be governed by the Lessor, not you. Disagreements and half done service often results. Nothing “extra” is ever done and you will often feel that you are not getting what you are paying for. Parts can be unknown in this circumstance because you were not promised OEM supplied (tested) parts.
3. “OEM Service Contract” is without question what you should insist upon. In addition to the benefits of “OEM Service” mentioned above, you receive OEM tested parts with greater availability, and faster delivery. Your equipment will be provided higher priority service than billed Service Customers giving you faster response time. As a Contracted customer you also have 24/7 Application support from the manufacture. Your CT Techs can have their questions answered immediately by calling an 800 phone number any time of day or night. You have the ability to initiate a service call directly. Call as often as you need. Catalina Imaging provides “OEM Service Contract” service only. Catalina Imaging believes you should not be the victim of cutting corners in quality.
4. “Third Party” or”Independent Service” should be avoided completely. Third party is a box of chocolates,,, you will never know what you will get. This service situation provides an independent unknown person representing themselves with questionable access to parts and is likely a free lance individual operating without liability insurance or workman’s comp coverage. This could have consequences greater than service problems; there could even be hospital liability exposure that could prove very costly.
5. “Guaranteed up time” This is probably the most misunderstood term in a Mobile medical imaging contract. You will see by the end of this paragraph that it is basically a hollow promise that is intended to make you think you are receiving some compensation when in fact you receive very little.
The guarantee begins with an uptime percentage guarantee. This percentage can look very impressive such as a 98% uptime guarantee, but it’s how the percentage is calculated that makes the difference. Typically the ONLY time used in the calculation is Monday through Friday 8AM through 5PM. Let’s say that your system went down at 3pm on a Friday and returned to service at 11AM Monday. The calculation would include 2 hours for Friday and 3 hours for Monday. This is a total of 5 hours. Saturday and Sunday are not used in the calculation. Now the math,, take the total number of days in the month multiply by 24 and divide your 5 hours of down time (5) by 720 hours (24hours x 30days). Presto! You have now earned 1 percent down time credit, not enough to be below the 98% Guarantee. In this case you will receive NO CREDIT in spite of being down for 2 ½ days. Logically you would expect that 2 ½ days divided by a 30 day month would give you about 8% credit; you would be in for an unpleasant surprise. It’s important to know that the credit is not straight line; it is on a sliding scale that offers very little for the first few percent under 98% then gradually goes higher. Just to demonstrate how unethical this calculation is; if the scanner NEVER worked for one month you would only be entitled to a 38% credit! Of course by that time your up time guarantee would provide full credit, BUT you would have been down for a month and your contract would provide for this. Of course hospital administration would be looking for someone’s head! Maybe YOURS!
Catalina Imaging DOES NOT USE UPTIME GUARANTEES. Catalina Imaging provides a set hour total per month of allowable down time and there after provides an honest 24/7 full credit, weekends included. Details are available by contacting Catalina Imaging.