Before I talk about the intricacies of C-arm service agreements, I have a question for you. Would you rather:
A) Have a cavity filled, or B) Sit down and read a service agreement in its entirety- including the fine print?
Given some of my past experiences with formal agreements and contracts, I might actually be inclined to get the cavity filled. There always seems to be something in all that paperwork that one doesn’t quite catch or understand fully- and it comes back to bite you in the end. This is precisely why I am writing this blog.
Your current service agreement may not cover everything that you think it does. Generally speaking, C-arm service agreements cover the cost of replacement parts, labor, and travel. They reduce risk and can end up saving you a significant amount of money. There are, however, some limitations to what is covered. Let's uncover some of them now.
Six Common Misconceptions About C-Arm Service Agreements:
Software - There is a lot of confusion when it comes to software-related issues. Simply reloading software to resolve an issue is generally covered under service. However, the engineer can only reload software if the customer has the software discs available. Service companies do not generally cover the cost of replacement software discs. It is the responsibility of the customer to maintain the discs when they purchase the equipment.
Not sure where to find your software? Watch the clip below for tips.
Consumables – Consumable items break down, get clogged, and sometimes need to be replaced. An engineer on site can certainly replace consumable items, but most service agreements charge extra for the required parts. Fortunately, consumable parts are among the least expensive to replace. Examples include brake pads, filters, light bulbs, batteries, wheels, and keys.
Cosmetic Damage/General Use – Wear and tear is going to happen on any system. Scratches, dents, dings, and marks are going to creep up and give the equipment a well-used look. It might not be pretty, but as long as the equipment is functioning properly the service agreement is doing its job.
User Error – Be cautious of what may be causing your C-arm to not work properly. It may simply be something that you are doing incorrectly. If it is, there's a possibility that you could be invoiced for time or parts spent to correct the issue. For example, a doctor or technician double-tapping the footswitch during a procedure can cause a system error.
Non-Covered Components – It may seem obvious to some, but make sure you are reading your service terms and conditions closely. Every service agreement or limited warranty information will list what is and is not included in the coverage. Two major components you will need to consider are the tube and image intensifier. Both parts are very expensive to replace, so we don't recommend choosing a service agreement that doesn't cover them both.
Environmental Electrical Issues – Service agreements only cover the equipment and the components related to it. Be aware of electrical issues lurking within your facility. An unsteady or “dirty” electrical line can lead to an equipment interruption or intermittent error. Because the cause of the problem lies in the facility’s power and not in the equipment, a repair is not covered. The very best solution is a dedicated electrical line specifically for the equipment. TIP: If your lights dim when you shoot X-ray, you may have a power problem that could damage your system or affect its image quality.
As torturous as it may sound to comb through all the "legal-ese", you really will be in great shape as a C-arm service user if you read the agreement thoroughly. You'll do even better if you ask your sales representative the tough questions about exactly what is and is not covered.
To learn more about imaging equipment service coverage, check out some our other free resources below: