While itís true that young physicians get paid less than an experienced one, this doesnít mean that you should just accept any deal. When you are negotiating contract terms, remember that everything can be adjusted to fit both partiesí needs.
Everything thatís agreed upon during the interview should be in the physician contract, including other benefits and work terms. You shouldnít hold a verbal agreement to be final. Make sure that every important element of your demands is included in the contract before you sign the contract. If a legal issue is to arise, the court typically upholds the terms of the contract, which is why you have to make extra sure that you have those details in the contract.
Now that the obvious has been stated, letís move on to some other elements of how you should approach a contract negotiation.
Consider Utilizing An Attorney
- If you arenít sure about how you should approach a physician contract negotiation, you should consider consulting an attorney. They will act on your behalf to protect your interests. It might seem excessive at first, but if you consider that you will be saving yourself from tons of headaches in the future, it might be worth it. You are securing your end of the deal so that your payment, compensation and work conditions are in accordance with what is stated in your contract. You should choose an attorney who has at least three years of experience working with physician contracts and is familiar with the laws of the country or state you plan to practice in.
- You need to know what you are expecting from a facility, and the facility should know what to expect of you. This will help you form a fair basis of work condition that is in line with what you plan to do. Make sure you are clear about how you want to approach overtime payment, work hours, expected operations and patients per day. Also, if you are expected to do extra administrative or non-medical work, it should be included in your contract, especially if it will hinder your ability to treat patients.
Some facilities will allow you to work extra jobs. If you want to work in locum tenens, then you should make sure that the facility allows it.
- This is the obvious one. Each practice and facility have different compensation plans that promote different work environment. Some pay you a flat salary with bonuses, some pay hourly, some is bill-based and some pays in equal-share of profits. There are many different types of payments, so you need to make sure that you understand how they are paying you. It will affect how you work, how the work environment will be and how you are expected to treat patients, so make sure the payment plan is mentioned in your contract.
- You should know what the facility is offering. From benefit packages, vacation time, sick leaves, parental leave, military duty, and more. Make sure that itís up to the standard of other practices, as you might be missing out on a better opportunity or being taken advantage of if you sign with a practice that provides significantly fewer benefits.
Also, make sure that you have a malpractice insurance to protect yourself if a lawsuit is to follow your treatment. Your company should detail what the insurance is going to cover you in the case of a malpractice. Covering the cost of CME and other professional fees are additional benefits you can look to negotiate.
Contract Terms and Termination
Lastly, make sure that the contract length is clearly defined, along with the terms of the contract termination. Covered causes should also be defined. The agreed upon non-compete clauses should be mentioned in the contract and the how disputes are handled should be identified. If you are to go to court for any reason, the contract term could be what saves you from having to pay large sums of money. Once the contract is signed, be sure to review it with your employer once a year.
Romanosky Law specializes in physician contract reviews to ensure that you are getting a fair employment – get in touch today to see how we can help.