The Complete Guide to Physician Contract Reviews
June 02, 2022
Expert Contract Reviews by Chelle Law
At Chelle Law, founder and CEO Robert Chelle offers physicians expert services for the review of their employment contracts. We believe that as a physician, you deserve to get the best possible deal. While physicians have in-depth knowledge of issues surrounding healthcare, they are not experts in employment law and employment contracts. Chelle Law provides physicians with the assistance of experienced contract reviews. A keen legal eye will help you avoid confusion and disputes later. We will help you protect your financial, career, and personal interests and negotiate for the best possible terms of employment.
What is a Physician Contract and Do You Have to Sign One?
A physician’s contract is the healthcare industry’s version of an employment contract. It is a contract between the physician and the healthcare facility or organization they will be working for. This contract sets out the terms for the physician’s employment including how much they will be paid, what their duties are, and where they will be expected to work. The contract states whether the doctor will be an employee of the organization or an independent contractor.
Doctors are not always required to sign a physician’s contract when they take up employment. This largely depends on the policies of the organization you want to work for. However, more and more organizations are requiring doctors to sign these contracts prior to taking up employment with them. This is true even for small private practices.
Why You Should Have Your Contract Reviewed
Contracts are documents that are legally binding. These documents are full of complicated legal jargon that you as a physician may not understand. While physicians are intelligent people, they are not experts in law and contracts. You may not truly understand whether you’re getting a good deal or not.
A single word in your contract could make a big difference in your working conditions or pay. You may not understand this, but an experienced contract review attorney from Chelle Law will.
Our attorneys will look at the details in your contract including the base salary, benefits, hours, options for growth, options to leave, and more. We’ll ensure that you understand the terms of the contract fully and are able to negotiate for the best terms.
Vital Areas of the Physician Contract to Have Reviewed by an Experienced Contract Review Attorney
The actual hiring process varies from one healthcare organization to another. However, at some point, you will be handed a physician contract to go over and sign prior to being employed by the organization. It is important to have this document reviewed by an experienced attorney in order to understand what the terms mean and determine whether you are getting a fair deal.
While every agreement is different, many outline the following information that you should have reviewed by an experienced contract review attorney.
1. Compensation structures and benefits
Compensation is often the most important part of any employment contract. It is essential that this section be reviewed by an attorney. The physician contract ought to define what structure you will be compensated under. Some of the most common compensation plans include:
- Salary only
- Salary plus a bonus
- Hourly rates or shifts
- Salary guarantee
Your contract should outline exactly how you will be paid and how much. It should also outline any benefits that you may receive. These may include:
- Health insurance
- Dental insurance
- Malpractice insurance
- Vision insurance
- Vacation days
- Life insurance
- Personal leave
- Sick days
- Payment of membership fees to professional associations
- Repayment of student loans
- Continuing medical education
- Relocation expenses
If your prospective employer has made verbal promises to you during the interview but that have not been included in the contract, be sure to mention these to your lawyer. Your lawyer will make sure that any and all benefits are documented in writing. The attorneys at Chelle Law will also check to ensure that the compensation rates are fair for physicians in your geographical location and level of qualification.
2. Duties and responsibilities
The physician contract should outline your specific responsibilities and duties. This includes what type of medicine you will practice. When you are expected to practice and where you will be practicing.
It is important to look over details such as the number of hours you are expected to work per day and per week as well as the workdays. You should look at your responsibilities while on call as well as the physical location you will be working from. The contract may provide information such as the number of patients you’re expected to see per day or week.
3. Start and end dates of the contract
How long is the contract valid and when does it take effect? Your contract should outline the start and end dates. It should also indicate what will happen when the term of the contract has come to an end. Some employers renew contracts automatically. Others may require that the physician go through a contract renewal approval process.
Ensure that you understand the dates of your contract and what will happen when your contract ends. Find out whether you can renegotiate the terms of the contract during renewal.
Many contracts include restrictive covenants. Employers use these restrictions to protect their interests. Restrictive covenants may include a non-compete clause that restricts the physician from working or owning a private practice within a certain distance from the location of the employer. Another common restrictive covenant is a non-solicitation clause which restricts the physician from taking patients from the employer to their own practice within a given time frame.
The employer reserves the right to terminate employment if the physician violates the restrictions set out in the contract.
The contract should also outline details of when you can be terminated. The contract should outline whether you can be terminated without cause. It should also state the reasons that your employer may choose to terminate you. Typically physicians may be terminated for inappropriate conduct. The contract should outline what these situations are.
Are you considering employment in the healthcare industry? You should get in touch with Chelle Law for an expert medical employment contract review for physicians to ensure you get the best terms.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.