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How to Draft More Durable Healthcare Contracts

    

The healthcare industry is subject to a hefty number of rules and regulations at all levels of government. In addition, these laws are susceptible to repeal or revision any time there is a change in governance. This can make it difficult for some companies involved in a healthcare-related business to plan for the future. This hesitancy or uncertainty may impact whether and how contracts are drafted and can end up requiring additional negotiations, amendments, addenda, or even rescissions. With these potential issues in mind, here are some things to consider in order to draft more durable healthcare contracts:

 

Set Long Term Goals and Incorporate Adaptability

This may seem to run counter to the reality just mentioned, which is that the healthcare industry is constantly changing. Nonetheless, there is no reason that companies are restricted to setting short term goals. Obviously, if a company is looking to engage in an area that tends to be highly contentious and thus likely to succumb to frequent changes in the law, it will be harder to plan for the long haul. Even then, however, contracts can be structured with the long term in mind but with flexibility built in to allow for any needed modifications. Thinking long term but incorporating adaptable terms will be critical to success over both the long and and short term in healthcare.

 

Start with a Template 

A lot of people have this misconception that templates are generic and inappropriate to use for unique circumstances. No matter how specialized the deal is, there is likely some kind of standard agreement from which the drafting may commence. It is faster and easier to start with some of the basic terms inherent in many healthcare contracts and then gradually build upon it. There is a good reason that people advise against trying to reinvent the wheel. With the minutiae out of the way, the team can focus on ironing out mutually beneficial clauses that will serve all parties for a long time.

 

Do Things Differently

To survive in virtually any industry, companies have to innovate. This can mean inventing new products, identifying new markets, or any number of things provided that there aren't a ton of other firms already doing the same thing well. The best way to remain relevant and competitive in the space is by innovating, evolving, and adapting. As demands change, the business must be able and willing to change along with it. This may seem difficult to accommodate in a contract, but a big part of a contract's durability will pertain to its malleability. Relationships and agreements do not need to be stifled by the outdated and rigid nature of contracting.

 

Incentivize

Successful businesses know how to find ways to add value, capitalize on strengths, mitigate risks and weaknesses, and make connections with the right parties. To find, build, and maintain lucrative business deals, both sides of a transaction have to offer unique incentives to foster the partnership. In healthcare, it can be very easy for one party to acquire and sustain far more power, the results of which are often less than ideal. Just because one entity may have more wealth and resources does not mean that it should exploit its contracting partners, as long-lasting relationships and strong contracting arrangements rest on situations that are beneficial to all those involved.

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