After going through years and years of medical school – you are an expert in medical lingo. Legal jargon, though? Probably not so much.
But that’s okay...
In fact, that’s why there are physician contract lawyers and attorneys who specialize in reviewing, revising, and creating contracts.
I'm a lawyer who understands all of the complicated and technical lingo embedded in a contract.
Contact me at Sam@MollaeiLaw.com if you're looking to get your physician contract reviewed...
Imagine it – you’ve finally finished medical school. You’ve applied to several jobs, gone to several interviews, and finally landed on the hospital or clinic you want to work at...
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in getting a physician’s position.
Namely, you will have to sign a contract with your employer. Your employer is going to hand you this multi-page contract with a lot to read.
Now, it is going to be tempting for you to just go to the last page and sign the dotted line. After all, you just finished medical school. You are itching to start your job!
But, you are going to want to read through the physician employment contract with a fine-tooth comb before signing it. You want to make sure you aren’t getting a raw deal.
Reading through any contract is boring and often difficult because of the legal language used.
Fortunately, there’s a solution to your problem – a contract lawyer. More specifically, a contract lawyer with experience in physician employment contracts.
Just give me a call or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, I can help.
Once I’ve helped you review your contract, you can start your new career as a physician with peace of mind...
Physician Contract Review
You may wonder if you need a physician contract lawyer to help you with a physician contract review.
After all, you’re a competent doctor who can take care of yourself, right?
Not so fast. It’s true that you’re very intelligent and competent at your job, but you didn’t go to law school.
I wouldn’t advise individuals based on their health issues just like you wouldn’t advise them on their legal issues. So why try and take care of such an important document alone?
The problem is that the individuals who draw up your physician contract are very experienced. They know what they are doing and their job is to protect their employer, not you.
The best thing you can do is hire a physician contract lawyer to review your contract and help you renegotiate, if necessary, so you get a good deal.
Email me at email@example.com for a physician contract review quote today.
Physician Contract Lawyer
A hospital or clinic will use an entire team of attorneys to draw up the physician employment contract for you to sign.
Given the fact that they have an entire team of people helping them create the contract, it really doesn’t make sense for you to be expected to decipher and sign the contract by yourself.
I believe all physicians should have someone who is on their side to help them understand what it is they are signing. Hiring a contract review lawyer is about hiring someone to take a good look at your contract with your best interest in mind.
Physician Employment Contract
Your physician employment contract is an important document that will dictate how your employment goes.
It’s crucial that you make sure you understand every line of your contract and the best way to do this is by hiring a contract review lawyer.
There are many different components of a solid contract. Let’s look at those in more detail in the next section.
Physician Employment Agreement Checklist
A good rule of thumb when it comes to physician employment contracts is to check it over for certain components.
I’ve provided this handy checklist that you can use to judge your contract for completeness:
- Regulatory compliance
- Written agreement
- Involved parties
- Nature of the relationship
- Services rendered
- Intellectual property
- Use of information
- Outside services
- Representations and warranties
- Performance standards
- Medical records
- Employer obligations
- Compensation and benefits
- Liability insurance
- Workers compensation insurance
- Post-termination obligations
- No solicitation
- Violation penalties
- Survival of terms
That’s a long list, but try not to get overwhelmed by it. Each part is important to your contract.
Let’s look at why:
Regulatory Compliance is necessary if you’ll be working with government healthcare programs. Additionally, if your tax exempt, your compensation should be in line with the fair market value of your services. Finally, your state may have additional compliance items that need to be in your contract.
Written Agreement just means that you have a written contract and everything that applies to regulations, safe harbors, and your duties is disclosed in that contract.
Parties are you or your corporate entity, your employer, and any other relevant parties involved in your employment.
Nature of Relationship is a term describing how you’ll be providing services. Will you be an employee or an independent contractor? Your physician contract should clearly specify this and it should be in line with IRS requirements.
Services Rendered specifies your duties. This includes administrative, calls, and clinical duties that your employer expects you to fulfill. You may want to check your medical contract to see if it’s non-exclusive as well.
Schedule should describe whether you’re part-time, full-time, or as needed basis only. It may specify your exact work hours and you should also consider any needed time for on-duty calls, follow up calls, and any admin tasks.
Location specifies where you’ll be performing the work and if your employer can assign you to other locations.
Independence is something that should be in your contract because it specifies that you can use your own independent professional judgment as needed.
Intellectual Property means that any of your property or ideas remain your own during the scope of your employment.
Use of Information authorizes your employer to use your name and applicable information in any operations, including marketing.
Outside Services specifies whether or not you can work outside of your contract. For example, a doctor at a medical group may decide to work emergency room hours in the hospital.
Qualifications is the section that should tell you that you must maintain certain qualifications to hold you job. Things such as state licensure, board certification, insurance, DEA registration, and medical staff membership. The qualifications should meet the state minimum, but might also have additional requirements depending on your employer.
Representations and Warranties may state certain requirements such as maintaining your qualifications or disclosing any conflicts of interests you may have if you take a job with this employer.
Performance Standards states what you’re required to do in order to meet the appropriate performance level. Usually it’s complying with applicable laws, your standard of care, bylaws and rules of the place of employment, and working with the staff.
Medical Records is a section that specifies how and when you must complete medical records. This is an important piece because timely completion is essential to your patients, but you don’t want to get locked into something you can’t fulfill. This section should also state your duties to complete medical records if you quit or get fired from your position.
Employer Obligations should specify what your employer is obligated to provide you with. This includes things such as space, supplies, equipment, and personnel. This section may not be included in your contract because it is sometimes implied. If you have any questions about it, you should ask.
Compensation and Benefits this section states everything you want to know about what, when, and how you’ll be paid. Additionally, it should specify any vacation days, signing bonuses, or other benefits and bonuses you may qualify for.
Liability Insurance is the place in your medical contract that should tell you if your employer requires you to have your own liability insurance. It will also specify the terms required such as the policy length and the amount.
Workers Compensation Insurance is only important to you if your employer doesn’t provide it. If you are an independent contractor or are being hired under your own corporate entity, you’ll want to get workers comp insurance and your employer will likely require you to do so by stating it in this section.
Indemnification is a fancy word for compensation based on loss. Basically, this section should tell you how you and your employer will compensate each other resulting from the other’s misconduct or negligence. You won’t find this in all contract and many employers do not indemnify their employees.
Term is where your employer can specify the length of your contract. Sometimes it’s for a period of a year, in which you’ll begin a new agreement if you stay past the term.
Termination specifies the important clauses such as the grounds on which you could be fired without cause with prior notice, fired with cause, and immediate termination. This lets you know your employer’s policy on how much warning you’ll get and when they can fire you with or without cause.
Post-termination Obligation lets you know what is required of you, and for how long, after you’ve been fired or your contract has ended. Certain things like completing medical records or consulting with a new physician on your patient roster may be included.
Confidentiality goes beyond just keeping medical records confidential, although that is included. Additionally, you’ll be required to keep things like trade secrets and other business strategies and practices to yourself.
Non-competition is a standard clause that states that you can’t take a job or setup a business in a certain subject and/or area within a certain amount of time. This is usually always in a contract because it prevents you from setting up a competing practice right after your physician contract ended.
No solicitation is a section that goes along with the non-competition part of a medical contract. It just means that you can’t try to steal the practice’s patients, staff, or contractors. You may see the no solicitation clause without a noncompete clause as it’s usually considered more important.
Violation penalties just lets you know what happens if you don’t follow the requirements of your contract. It’s usually terms specified by law and includes things such as violating confidentiality, ending your contract early, etc.
Notice tells you how much notice you should provide, or that will be provided to you, and how it will be provided – by mail, in person, in an email, etc. It includes terminating the contract but also notice of breaches.
Survival of Terms specifies any conditions that are meant to exist after the contract ends. This could include the non-compete agreement, the confidentiality requirements, and other relevant clauses.
As you can see, there is a lot involved in a solid physician employment contract. You really need to hire someone with experience dealing with contract such as a physician contract lawyer. To begin your physician contract review today, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Physician Contract Negotiation Tips
When you are dealing with your medical contract for employment, you should be aware of a few physician contract negotiation tips such as beginning at the offer letter and including relevant clauses so you get the best deal possible.
It is becoming more and more common for physicians to stray away from private practice and towards hospitals and clinics.
Most patients associate private practice with a few things – they are expensive and they aren’t flexible with health insurance. So, as a physician, you gravitate towards a hospital or clinic where your patient flow is a little better.
After all, you aren’t going to get paid if you don’t have any patients.
Naturally, there’s also the fact that working for a hospital or clinic will free you from the burdens of running your own business. The only downside to making this switch is you aren’t your own boss anymore. Instead, you have an employer.
With that employer comes an employment contract. Within this contract, you will find your rights and responsibilities. For obvious reasons, it is vital for you to make sure you understand your physician employment contract. And this is where the assistance of a contract attorney can help.
For now, however, I’d like to give you some helpful tips on working out a physician employment contract that is both surprise-free and sufficient.
Step 1: Start with an Offer Letter
You are going to begin step one before you even have an employment contract to worry about.
Basically, this is just a letter from your potential employer which outlines the details of the physician position.
The biggest mistake a new physician can make is just signing the offer letter and sending it back in. Technically, you can start the negotiating before you even get the contract. In a perfect world, you want to take this letter to your contract lawyer and get it reviewed before you sign it.
It is also important to keep in mind that promises in an offer letter do not hold any weight from a legal standpoint.
Basically, this means to just keep ahold of a copy of the letter. When you get the actual contract, you will need to do a double take to make sure what you were promised in the letter is actually in the contract.
Step 2: Read and Understand Before You Sign
One of the biggest agreements a physician who ends up being unhappy with their contract terms can agree to is the fact that they didn’t read the contract thoroughly before signing it.
All of the details of your contract with your new employer are right there in print. It is up to you to read and understand what you are signing.
Fortunately, this is also something your contract attorney can help you with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. You need to understand your contract.
Step 3: Termination and Coterminous Clauses
Typically, a contract gives your employer the freedom to fire you – with or without cause – after a period of time (which is usually around 90 days). Now, this arrangement is extremely common.
If you have a five-year contract, for example, this kind of clause is going to dramatically shorten the length of your contract. Basically, if you agree to 90 days – make sure 90 days is enough time for you to find a new job.
Keep in mind the purpose of this clause is to protect the employer. It just makes it possible for the employer to terminate you in situations where budget cuts (or some other unforeseen issue occurs) that prevents them from being able to afford you without them suffering from it.
So, you just want to make sure you know what kind of window you are working with.
Furthermore, you should also note whether being terminated also means you lose your privileges and rights.
As you can see, there is a lot to look at and consider when signing any physician employment contract. You can make your life a lot less hectic and your future a lot brighter by hiring a contract lawyer to wade through it all for you.
Email me at email@example.com and we’ll get started with your new contract.
Mistakes to Avoid When Signing Physician Employment Contracts
There are certain mistakes to avoid when signing physician employment contracts such as waiting to get a lawyer and not researching your employer.
Did you know that thousands of physicians are signing employment contracts just about every year? The key to a successful and happy employment as a physician is understanding and agreeing to the terms of your employment contract.
Namely, you need to be extremely careful about what it is you are signing. The unfortunate truth is a lot of physicians make some pretty big mistakes when signing physician employment contracts that ends up costing them and their families for years. Here’s a list of some of those mistakes to make sure YOU don’t make them too.
Biggest Mistake #1: Waiting Too Long to Get a Lawyer
You want to get a lawyer as soon as you start applying for jobs.
The offer letter – which is the first thing you will get from your potential employer – is something you want your lawyer to look at before you even need a physician contract review.
This way they can help you work out the terms from the very beginning. Waiting too long to get a lawyer to help you could cause you to lock yourself into stuff you never really wanted.
Having a lawyer from the start will also show your potential employer how serious you are. Which certainly doesn’t hurt.
It will also allow you to negotiate your contract from the very beginning, which may make it easier to draft a contract that both parties can agree on more easily.
Biggest Mistake #2: Not Researching Your Potential Employer
How much do you know about the person you are thinking about working for? It is vital for you to do a significant amount of research – and then a little more.
You can even get a contract lawyer to look into the employer from a legal perspective to make sure you aren’t about to go into business with someone who has a history of doing shady things to their medical staff. Basically, you should know who you are working for very, very well.
Signing a new contract with an employer is an exciting time. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the offer and the promise of a new job and agree to something you wouldn’t normally agree to.
This is why it’s always a good idea to hire a physician employment contract lawyer to help you review your offer letter and your contract.
When you take this vital step, you have a much greater chance of negotiating a physician employment contract that you’ll be very happy with. Don’t make the mistake of going at it alone.
► Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m standing by to answer all of your questions and review your new physician contract when you’re ready.