Welcome! And thank you for joining us in our second segment of the colossally popular “Contract Exclusions” series! We knew that everyone who read part one, MRI Contract Exclusions, would be chomping at the proverbial bit to see what we'd share about CT contracts.
Now, before we get started explaining what you can expect to not be covered in a standard 3rd-party CT service contract, I should warn you: if you also read part one, some of this will sound VERY familiar, but we figured if the MRI shoe fits, the CT can wear it! Here goes:
The X-ray tube or “glassware” of your CT is one of the most expensive components in the entire system. Often repairs, adjustments, and maintenance that maximize the performance and the longevity of your tube are covered, but outright replacement is NOT. The cost of a brand-new tube is sometimes high enough to come close to the value of the entire service contract.
On the other hand, tube coverage can be a game-saver should something drastic happen. Think long and hard about the age/amount of use on your tube versus the dollars in your budget, then consider asking your provider to add glassware coverage to your contract. We highly recommend including tube coverage on your service agreement. This limits the risk you take on. Tubes vary drastically in cost depending on what kind your system uses. The cost of a new tube for Siemens and Philips systems can be six figures. A used tube can average anywhere between $20,000 and $90,000.
It might sound like semantics, given their close relationship with CTs, but chillers are not medical imaging equipment. They are technically HVAC equipment. Many chillers are generic, serving multiple systems, or are pre-existing equipment from a previous MRI or CT scanner. These circumstances introduce variables that are related more to the management of your facility than the actual functionality of your CT. Chiller equipment is better kept by contracting with an HVAC vendor for regular maintenance.
Here’s a simple analogy to help explain this one: If you bought a car with a warranty, you wouldn’t expect the dealership to teach you how to drive it, would you? Not at all. The same is true of your CT. Applications support is not related to the functionality of your system, but rather your ability to operate it. While most contracts will not cover apps support, talk to your provider about it. They may be able to refer you to an apps training company.
Your CT’s operating software is proprietary information, the rights to which are held by the manufacturer of the equipment. Your service provider will be happy to reload and configure the software that came with your system in the event of software corruption or data loss, but if you’ve lost your software disks or purchased a machine without them, you’ll have to turn to the OEM to get replacements.
The same is true of manuals. This is information that third-party vendors are not at liberty to distribute freely, even to contract customers.
There are factors outside of your service provider’s control that can cause CT problems. These factors are usually excluded from all imaging equipment service agreements.
Here are a couple of examples relative to CT:
CTs need to be operated in relatively cool rooms. If your thermostat fails and the room gets too hot, your provider won’t cover the CT problems that result from your HVAC problems.
Similarly, if the neighboring airport extends runway 164B a quarter of a mile closer to your campus and all those low-flying jets are causing noise in your image, you’re better off calling the FAA than your service provider.
Acts of God
This is the great-granddaddy of all exclusions! If the almighty has seen fit to drop a live bear through the roof of your clinic with a tornado or suffocate all your valuable electronics in the swirling dusts of a freak sandstorm, your lowly mortal service provider is in no position to argue with him. As we mentioned above: there are factors outside of your service provider’s control that can cause CT problems.
In case this list didn't do anything to boost your confidence, we’ll tell you the same thing we told the MRI users: The list of 6 exclusions above is absolutely dwarfed by the number of parts a contract does protect and the number of potential problems that are avoided by the regular maintenance visits included.
Please also keep in mind that these exclusions are negotiable! Talk things over with your service sales rep. If there’s a feature you absolutely don’t want to go without, it could potentially be added to your provider’s standard document.