What to Watch for in Physician Employment Contracts (H1)
When working in the medical field as a physician or Advanced Practice Provider (APP), you will sign a contract for employment as a permanent placement. It’s important to understand what is in the contract and what is not. While you should always consult an experienced health care attorney, there are things you should watch out for during the contract negotiations.
Physician Salary (H2)
Understand what is included in the complete physicians’ compensation and any adjustments to your base salary. Some benefits offer incentives for productivity, so be sure you know how performance is measured and what is required. There might be a sign-on bonus or relocation benefits, depending on your situation.
Annual Benefits (H2)
Check what level of health insurance benefits are included in the contract. Things like paid parental leave, disability coverage, life insurance, and a 401(k) plan are important. It would be best if you also tried to include continuing education and licensing coverage. Also, look closely at the malpractice insurance in the contract. It may be advisable to have a lawyer and certified physician insurance specialist review the agreement to assess any missing coverage.
Coverage Duties (H2)
Stated on the contract should be your coverage duties or your job responsibilities. Are they mostly clinical, or are there some non-clinical obligations? In your contract negotiations, you will decide on work hours, including weekend duties and when you are on call. Make sure they are all spelled out in the contract.
Most contracts are for a 1, 2, or 5-year term and may terminate automatically once that time is up unless you have an evergreen clause. An evergreen clause will automatically renew your contract once the initial term is up and continue to renew unless you or your employment terminates the agreement. Your contract will have a termination clause that will discuss what happens after you are no longer employed. Make sure the contract clearly states the termination obligations and whether it is with or without cause.
Non-Compete or Restrictive Covenant Clause (H2)
Make sure you understand your non-compete clause if you have one. This is usually with the termination clause and may be called a restrictive covenant. You want to ensure the term is reasonable and the limits on where you can practice are not too large. When you leave, you don’t want any future employment to be affected by a bad covenant clause.
By understanding your contract details, you will have no surprises down the road and can enjoy your new employment. A successful work/life balance begins with setting up the correct employment contract from the beginning.