Whether you are a recent medical school graduate or a seasoned physician preparing for a change in your employment, it is important to know the basics before you sign a new employment contract. The terms of this document can significantly affect your job satisfaction, quality of life, and financial future. It is therefore critical to have a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities before committing.
Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates advocate on behalf of physicians at every stage of their careers. Our services include reviewing and negotiating contracts, enforcement of contracts, contract disputes, and if necessary, employment contract litigation. We have compiled a list of important factors medical professionals should consider when negotiating an employment contract.
Gather Information and Be Prepared
Arm yourself with information. Before negotiations begin, inquire about the practice’s compensation plan, benefits, call and coverage expectations, and termination provisions. Learn as much as you can about other groups within your field and geographic location. If the employer offers a base salary plus incentive compensation, make sure that you understand what qualifies as incentive payment and how it is calculated. If compensation will be based on productivity, inquire about how your income will be affected when you take time off.
There is No Such Thing as a “Standard Physician Employment Contract”
Some physicians mistakenly believe that they have little choice but to accept the contract terms as they were originally presented. Others are misguided into thinking that everything is negotiable. The reality lies somewhere in between and will vary depending on the practice’s unique circumstances. Before the start of negotiations, decide on which issues are most important to you. Speak up if you have questions about a specific provision.
Strive for a Win-Win Solution
Enter negotiations with a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, but understand that some compromise may be necessary. Your goal should not be to win at the expense of your employer, but rather to find a common ground that affords a fair and reasonable outcome for both parties. If you are seeking a concession, explain why it is fair. Keep in mind that the posture you take during negotiations will be remembered long after the contract is signed. Likewise, this process can also help you better understand your future relationship with your employer and others within the group or practice.
Read the Fine Print
Your employment agreement is a legally binding contract that can and will be enforced in state court. For this reason, it is essential that you read and understand the entire document, including the termination provisions. Be aware that many employment agreements stipulate that a termination of your employment will also terminate your privileges at the hospital. If changes are made during the negotiations, make sure that they are in writing, not simply a verbal agreement.
Understand Restrictive Covenants
Restrictive covenants are one of the most important aspects of an employment contract as they can have a significant impact on your future earning potential. Physicians’ groups include restrictive covenants to prevent doctors who have left the practice from taking a significant number of patients with them. The objective should be to protect the practice from financial harm – not to punish a doctor for terminating his or her employment.
Seek Legal Counsel
The employment contract is one of the most important financial decisions you will ever make, and mistakes can have a devastating impact on your future. Fortunately, we are experienced health care lawyers with the foresight to protect these professionals. Consult with us to review the terms of your employment contract and alert you to any provisions that may be unfavorable.
Philadelphia Health Care Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Assist With Contract Negotiations
If you have been offered a position with a hospital, group, or practice, the Philadelphia health care lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates can help ensure your rights and interests are protected. Call 215-569-1999 today to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated and experienced health care lawyers or contact us online. With offices in Philadelphia, we assist clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York.