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Published: July 17, 2023

4 Questions to Ask About Telecom Services at Long-Term Care Communities

Saving money on your telecom services contracts might feel as likely as winning the MegaMillions. Between hidden fees, term changes, and confusing contract structure, the layers of complexity can feel crippling. Soon enough, you’re just resigned to the fact that you don’t have the time, knowledge, or energy to understand the bill - let alone try to optimize it.

For long-term care communities, tech may not be the first place you go to save on operating expenses. It’s not as big of a line item as food, pharmacy, or therapy. But recently a new client came to us because a specific bill had tripled over the last three months. No matter how big or small the tech line item is, tripling costs is a big deal for your community’s bottom line.

To get started saving on your telecom services bills, including wireline services, wireless services, and license-based services, ask yourself these four questions.

1 - Am I paying for the right services?

This sounds like a bit of an obvious question, but it’s not always easy to answer. Two of the key areas where HMS has successfully found savings are with services that are no longer necessary and services that can be upgraded to faster, more cost-efficient services.

Normally, organizations get a bill that says “pay this amount” (and that bill might even be on auto-pay). You can request more detailed reports, but they don’t often provide it proactively.

We have found clients being billed for a circuit in a building that doesn’t even exist any more. Or for lines that were set up to ring to the fire department before 911 was established, leaving them with an outdated and unnecessary solution.

Similar to paying for the right services is whether you’re paying the right fees and taxes. Many of our clients are nonprofit organizations, which should be tax-exempt. However, sometimes when changing services taxes get added because the organization is coded wrong in the system or state taxes are hidden deep in the bill.

We have successfully negotiated for nonprofits to be paid back for taxes that were inappropriately added to their bill. That’s right, we not only saved on future bills, but we were able to get them savings from the past!

Pro Tip:

Requesting the itemized bill is the best way to discern whether you’re paying for the right services. Be sure to review taxes and fees, as well.

2 - When was the last time I negotiated?

If it’s been more than two years since you reviewed your contracts, you’re probably overpaying, or paying for services you don’t need.

The worlds of technology and communication change so fast, it can be hard to keep up. Often, there are new solutions available, or older services have become cheaper due to improved technology.

Some organizations will use a GPO to help them with this category of expenses. However, a GPO won’t help you discern whether your services are necessary. Doing a true competitive analysis is the best way to negotiate your contracts.

Pro Tip:

Staying up-to-date on the latest in telecom services is not just trendy, it’s actually necessary to be able to evaluate your bill.

3 - Is this beyond my area of expertise or time constraints?

Hint: unless you’re an attorney who specializes in this business, the answer is probably yes. The reality is that these contracts are unlike any other contract you will sign. They often have links to other online documents within, which can include complex tables, service level agreements, or acceptable use policies.

Telecom contracts are constructed in a way that is incredibly confusing for the average business person, and often requires interpretation from a knowledgeable industry professional. If you’re not carefully reading the terms and conditions of these contracts, you can find your rates going up with minimal notice. You need someone familiar with all of this who can ensure the right things are baked into the contract – not just linked documents.

Additionally, it is very hard to stay up-to-date on legislation that impacts telecom services. For instance, the FCC came out with a revised order in the last few years that caused the price of copper wire-based services to increase dramatically. Unfortunately, these changes were most often announced in a bill insert, which may never be seen by the right people.

Pro Tip:

If you don’t have time to read the Terms and Conditions or you can’t understand the fine print, you’re missing out on important information impacting your bill.

4 - What do I have to lose?

If you’re not regularly having your contracts reviewed and/or re-negotiated, you could be losing out on tremendous savings. But we do understand that it can be a little scary to let someone else in to review things. You might be afraid that you won’t look good to your team when someone else discovers big savings.

But think of it this way: our goal at HMS is to make you the hero of your team. You can be known as the person who helped your organization capture significant savings – past, present, and future – on your major operating expenses.

Our goal is to make the process as simple as possible for you. From start to finish, we often only require an hour or two from your team. Our team of experts do the rest.

Pro Tip:

When choosing a telecom consultant, ask if they are being compensated by telecom companies for bringing them business. If the answer is yes, they might not be giving you the best savings, but simply the best savings within the companies that pay them.

Ready to move forward? Schedule a call with our team or email us at getstarted@hmspecialists.com.

WE ONLY MAKE MONEY WHEN YOU SAVE MONEY
HMS works with long-term senior care organizations to review and negotiate expenses to lower costs, increase purchasing power, monitor continued savings, and improve margins. The result? Peace of mind and more cash on hand to invest in your residents.
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