While getting the job offer or Letter of Intent for your first physician job is exciting, pouring over the fine print details of the employment contract can be overwhelming. Physician employment contracts commonly cover the basics such as compensation and benefits, but you also need to consider the behavioral stipulations, non-compete clauses, and termination provisions.
If you’re unsure of whether or not to seek the assistance of a physician employment contract lawyer, here are some points that may help you make a decision:
Should I have a physician contract attorney review my contract?
Review the document on your own and ask yourself:
- “Does this make sense to me?”
- “Could I easily explain all of these conditions to someone else?”
If the answer to either of those questions is no, we strongly suggest soliciting expert advice from an attorney. If the document is easy to understand & straightforward, perhaps you can have your program director, an attending, or someone you know who understands medical practice contracts review it.
If you decide to submit the contract to a physician contract lawyer:
- Find someone with experience specifically in medical contract law.
- Ask them to review the document and advise you about any glaring concerns or issues.
- Inquire how it compares to other contracts they’ve seen or if they’ve seen a contract from this practice/medical system.
- Give them a specific date or time frame for when you need the reviewed contract back.
- Establish whether you will be communicating new terms directly with the employer or whether your lawyer will be proposing the changes to them.
How much does it cost to have an attorney review my physician employment contract?
- While costs can vary across firms, the cost to have a physician contract reviewed generally ranges between $300 – $1500+. The cost of review depends on the attorney.
- Ask if they charge by the hour or if you need to pay a flat fee. Always ask in advance for an estimated cost.
What else should I know about physician contracts and contract negotiations?
- Communicate as openly and honestly as possible with the group through the contract negotiation process.
- Look at the terms of the contract from your new employer’s perspective. Remember, you may soon be on the other side.
- Sometimes the flexible factors in a contract are limited. Smaller groups and individuals can have more contract flexibility than a larger group or hospital-based opportunity.
- Make a clear and easy-to-understand list of your concerns. Communicate the most important issues to the key contact person. Keep in mind that an increasing number of groups and hospital systems have non-negotiable contracts while some groups are open and receptive to changes.
- Timely and effective communication is very important. If you have any trouble connecting with the contact person or getting the information you need, having a physician recruiter can help continue the lines of communication. (You can also contact our specialized consultant for your specialty here.)
How do I find a lawyer to review my physician employment contract?
- Many websites exist solely to search for attorneys. One we recommend is martindale.com. This site allows searches by Health Care Contracts, Medical Contract Review, and by location. Martindale Hubbell actually has peer ratings for attorneys that might be helpful as you begin reviewing attorneys.
- Your state medical association will also have a list of medical contract lawyers who are qualified to review your employment contract.
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