Physician Contracts – Pay Attention to What is NOT in the Contract, as Much as What IS

Physicians are well served by referring a proposed contract to an attorney who can identify pitfalls contained within the contract. This small investment in legal services may have a profound effect on the day to day life of physicians who accept a contract. Physicians are well advised to also consider certain factors which are not contained within the four corners of the contract itself. Consider the following:


  1. Growth. Get a handle on the history of the practice you intend work with. Has the practice seen growth? If a practice is not growing and has remained a certain size over a certain period of time, it may mean that the practice is not being managed well. Of course that’s not always the case and some practices prefer to stay small as opposed to grow. During your discussions with your potential employer, find out what their ambitions are and compare those ambitions to the previous history of the practice. Consider if the practice is shrinking. If so, why?


Another reason to consider growth is to determine whether the employer is growing in such a way that time may present you with different responsibilities within the practice, and a more rewarding long term career provided you remain employed by the practice.


  1. Turnover. During the interview process, determine how many physicians have come and gone from the practice over the last several years. If the turnover number seems high, ask for an explanation of why the turnover appears to be high and consider the response provided.


  1. Investment. Determine whether there has been a commitment to capital and equipment improvements at the practice. Find out what new equipment has been purchased by the practice and what their short and long term goals are in this regard.   Has the practice made a substantial commitment to computerized record keeping, billing and other administrative responsibilities?


  1. Get to know personnel. One of the most important things to consider is the personality of the people you will work with. Not only is it important to consider the reputation of your direct report, or reports, but also the personality and reputation of the administrative staff who can make your every working day a pleasure or a nightmare. Ask the people you are negotiating with if you can have some “one on one” time with other peers who recently began working at the practice to determine what their impressions are in this regard. Perhaps a lunch is in order. The more time you spend with the prospective personnel, the better you will be able to make an educated guess about whether they share the same ambitions and work/life balance you seek.




The terms of your employment contract likely set forth the hours you will work, the pay you will receive, the benefits to be provided, etc. But there are many more issues to consider which will not be found within the four corners of the contract. Bare these factors in mind before you commit your career to a track you might otherwise regret. Call Romanowsky Law now to help guide you through the employment pr