A Physician Employment Contract needs to be understood and fashioned to protect your needs. All terms have meaning and you need to understand what they mean. This is your life and what your compensation will be an important aspect of establishing your life going forward. Contract examination and review needs to be proactive. Once the agreement is signed it is too late to examine what it means and ask for any changes. All business arrangements should be in writing and nothing should be left to verbal assurances. If the term is worth verbally discussing, it is worth putting in writing to ensure the memories of the parties do not change in the future.
Consult with competent legal counsel before you sign an agreement. All arrangements are negotiable and it is reasonable that you become involved in the process, ask questions and understand your rights and duties.
Compensation is at the heart of an employment contract. Compensation can take many forms, salary, bonuses, loan repayments, vacation, profit sharing, buy in options and other benefits for medical coverage or disability insurance. Regardless of the employer (large hospital or small practice group) you will be presented with a contract based on the situation of the employer and the market conditions of the location you select. Remote practices in Montana are not the same as a large hospital setting in Phoenix.
Insurance is integral to provide protection to you and your practice. Malpractice claims are increasing and the cost of insurance is rising. Coverage is shifting from an occurrence based policy to a claims made policy. Mobility is increasing in all business segments, including medical services. Tail Coverage needs to be understood so you can have continuity of coverage for your practice when you move or take a new job. Non compete clauses are extremely important to examine. The law surrounding non compete clauses is state based, complex and evolving.
The duration of the contract is important as is under what conditions can either party terminate the agreement. If you begin your employment and find the job less than you had hoped for or your family is not adjusting to the location, you will need to understand your rights to terminate the agreement with a minimum impact on you. Duties need to be examined so you clearly understand what is expected of you. Practicing in certain locations comes with required community service or limitations on what services you can provide. You want to be treated fairly and do no more or less than all other physicians.
Make sure the agreement contains all items discussed and it is clear what you will be getting. We can assist you in this process. Our purpose is not only to deal with the issues in the agreement, but also to assist in educating the physician regarding contracts in general so future agreements will not be so daunting.