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Recognize when to cut or negotiate contract clauses

In part one of this two-part look at contracts, we review which clauses in your payer contracts should raise red flags. In part two, we'll examine how to respond if payers fail to keep up their end of the contract. Although it is potentially one of the most difficult responsibilities of your job, understanding and negotiating payer contracts is integral to the ultimate success of your practice. Think you need a legal degree to be contract savvy? The good news is that in most instances, that's not the case, said Sherri C. Staat, CMPE, administrator for Orthopaedic Associates Medical Clinic in Visalia, CA, who offered her in-the-trenches advice about contracts during a two-part seminar at the 2006 MGMA Financial Management Society-Managed Care Assembly in San Diego.