CenterWatch Weekly reported the time research sites spend negotiating study budgets with sponsors has risen 62% in the past two years. Why is this a problem? The more time you spend negotiating a budget or a research contract, the less time you have available to spend on running the trial and caring for your patients. Also, it’s difficult to know for sure if all that extra negotiation time is getting you the best possible budget to make running the trial possible and profitable.
Your time, energy, and focus are worthwhile. Go into budget and contract talks armed with these five tips to reduce negotiating time and land on a budget that works for your needs.
1) Calculate Your Hourly Rates
Before beginning budget negotiations, you need to know what your clinical research services are worth. Using the salary and benefits of your nurses, research coordinators, principal investigators, and other employees, calculate the hourly rate for common trial activities like adverse event management, informed consent, and medical procedures. Keep in mind, most patient visits often include more than one procedure.
Calculating your hourly rates is helpful as it paints a clear picture of the time and effort each patient visit costs as well as what that time and effort is worth.
2) Document Your Hourly Rates
After calculating your hourly estimates, document them in a formal PDF signed by your site finance manager. Sometimes called a master fee schedule (MFS), this document serves two essential purposes. First, is demonstrates your hourly rates are standard for all trials and second, it sets a clear precedent for your fee requirements, reducing the time spent haggling over fees in budget negotiations.
3) Update Your Clinical Trial Payments Regularly to Reflect Rising Costs
Inflation is hitting every industry, including clinical research. Be sure to account for rising prices in your MFS to avoid getting stuck in old rates. Otherwise, you won’t be getting paid what your time and resources are truly worth by the time long trials are concluded. A simple way to account for inflation is to add 5% to the cost of each procedure or hourly rate for every year the trial will run, then divide the total by the number of trial years.
You could also run in to unanticipated costs, like extra time on administrative work, during a long trial. Add wording to your MFS document that allows for unexpected or new costs, so you aren’t stuck holding the tab as the trial runs its course.
4) Account for Time Spent on Billing Compliance
Your research staff will spend a lot of trial time analyzing insurance coverage to ensure the proper entity is billed, especially when it comes to Medicare. This time, often referred to as billing compliance, is important as improper Medicare billing could leave you in violation of federal law. However, billing compliance time deserves compensation, especially since trials are getting increasingly complex, necessitating more and more procedures per visit and leading to even more time spent on billing compliance analysis. Add a billing compliance fee to your MFS to cover the time spent doing this work.
5) Account for Time Learning and Implementing Trial Technology
Modern trials often require specialized technology. While trial-specific tech might make the study easier in the long term, it does take time for you and your staff to learn how to use it and incorporate it into your practice. Add technology fees to your MFS to cover this time. As new technology might also require new infrastructure, add reimbursements or verbiage around reimbursements to your MFS to ensure you’re covered.
Need Help? Join Elligo’s Clinical Trials Network
Navigating the intricacies of clinical research finances, especially contract and budget negotiations, is no easy feat. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Elligo’s Research Partner Services, offered through the Elligo Research Network, include Financial Management Services to manage clinical trial financial processes so you can focus on patient care and trial execution. These streamlined, automated, and customized solutions leverage our experience and relationships to help you with contract and budget negotiations, reducing your workload and delivering optimal negotiation outcomes.
Contact us today to learn more about how our Research Partner Services can increase your trial revenue, enhance your patient care, and help you accelerate the development of new medicines and therapies.