Renegotiating Contracts: What Radiology Groups Should Consider

April 30, 2012
Richard Woodcock, MD

Here are a few pointers for renegotiating your contracts.

If you are like me you may cringe a little when it comes time to renegotiate your contracts. But you don’t have to cringe. What you do need is to be a salesman - and be prepared when it is time to talk.

Yes, you need to sell yourself. That is not something most physicians are comfortable with, but you need to be. It is not as hard as it might seem. If you’ve done your work during the terms of the contract, then it should be straight forward.

Here are a few things to remember:

While it is competitive, it is not all about the bottom line for most of your referring MDs. One group who bid against us reportedly told the orthopedic group for whom we worked - and were renegotiating - that they would do the reads for any price. The orthopedics group actually found that a little disconcerting. At least one of the referring orthopedists asked if the other group was a bargain basement kind of place and wondered what they’d cut to trim their expenses. They also felt that a group worth its salt would have a reasonable floor below which they wouldn’t do the reads. Otherwise you look desperate.

If you’ve done good work, it is time to call in your chips. Don’t be afraid to leverage those relationships you’ve worked to cultivate. Ask the junior partners and staff to put in a good work for you. It may matter.

Take the chance to be self-critical. What have you done well for this group? And what could you do better? Take criticism constructively. We talked with one group about their plans, and how we could help with reading area designs for their physicians and potential for us. Even if you lose the contract, you’ll learn from it.

Don’t lose your mind if you lose a contract. Things change. And that may not always be for the worst if you lose a business. Oftentimes groups are struggling to do the reads they have. Though it may be painful to lose a contract, it may mean more time to focus on the business you have, and give you new time to look for new and better relationships.