What is a Physician Contract Lawyer?
A physician contract lawyer is legal counsel that helps physicians manage certain legal agreements that come up in their medical practice. Some of these contracts might include agreements such as an employment contract or partnership agreement .
Physician contract lawyers focus on ensuring that each legal contract that a physician agrees to is advantageous to their practice. They do this by helping the physicians draft, review, and negotiate legal contracts.
What Does a Physician Contract Lawyer Do?
Physicians are extremely intelligent people who are well-versed in making important decisions when it comes to both their lives and the lives of others. When a new physician finishes school, they are sent to a residency program where they must sign an employment contract with the establishment they want to work with.
This employment contract includes vital information about job duties, pay, and many other day-to-day details of a physician's stay. Since the terms within this document likely rule the next several years of a physician’s life, having the agreement reviewed by a physician contract lawyer is recommended.
These types of lawyers assist physicians with contract negotiation and employment contract review requirements to ensure that hospital contracts are mutually beneficial.
Once a physician’s residency is over, a new legal process called a physician contract review is set into motion. This process is designed to evaluate the physician’s skills and make changes to their employment contract accordingly.
Physician contract lawyers offer their expert skills to ensure the terms of the contract are in line with what the physician wishes to get out of their employment. Additionally, physician contract lawyers can assist them in negotiating more favorable outcomes, such as higher pay.
Even though many physicians may have a difficult time admitting they need help with decision-making, physician contract lawyers are an essential part of the contract process.
Check out this article to learn more about what physician contract lawyers do.
Types of Contract Physicians Need Help With
Physicians are well-educated, intelligent people who perform a vital role in their communities. Since the law is typically outside of their expertise, physician contract lawyers can help them to make sure the legal agreements they enter into are beneficial to their lives and careers.
There are several types of contracts that physicians need help with:
Perhaps one of the most common contracts that physician attorneys can help with is employment contracts. Since hospitals are a business and they want to get the most favorable terms on their contracts as possible, these contracts can be riddled with vague language and less-than-satisfactory terms.
Physician contract lawyers know the standard terms and conditions of employment contracts. They can perform extensive audits of employment contracts to suggest changes or make negotiations on the behalf of their clients. This practice leads to a more mutually advantageous relationship between the doctor and their employer.
Here are a few things a physician contract lawyer reviews in an employment contract:
- Non-compete clauses
- Malpractice insurance provisions
- Termination processes
- Exit notice rules
In some cases, using a lawyer to negotiate the contract may not be the best decision for physicians. When physicians believe that negotiations would be best received from themselves, these lawyers can provide coaching to help them through the process.
Throughout their careers, many physicians choose to forego being an employee in favor of opening a private practice. When they choose to do this together with another doctor, a partnership is formed. This new relationship requires legal groundwork to be set to stay compliant and to protect the interest of each physician.
Physician contract lawyers can help partnerships navigate the process of establishing the business, creating the necessary legal documents needed to operate, and establishing the day-to-day operation rules that help the practice run smoothly.
Here are a few things physician lawyers help partnerships establish:
- How expenses will be shared
- How patients can be acquired
- How additional doctors can be added to the team
Physician lawyers can also help draft vital legal forms for the practice such as:
- Confidentiality forms
- Patient paperwork
- Letter of intent
If a doctor wishes to run their own practice without a partner, business contracts are necessary. Physicians will often need to contract with third-party vendors for things like supplies, equipment rental, insurance, and other issues. It is helpful to get these vendor contracts reviewed to make sure they are favorable to the medical practice.
Business contracts are essential to compliant operations and to protecting the interests of doctors and patients. Physician contract lawyers know what needs to be included to provide the most superior protection for all parties that is possible.
Employment contracts typically include a minimum amount of time that a physician must remain with a practice before they can move on to other endeavors. Whether the doctor wishes to exit before his contract is up or needs to negotiate the terms of his exit, physician lawyers can help.
Especially when a better opportunity becomes available, it can be difficult for doctors to decide whether to face legal action from breaking a contract or to let the opportunity pass them by. In the case that their term is coming to an end and they don’t wish to renew, a certain notice period is required, sometimes up to a year before they can move on.
Physician contract lawyers advise their clients on what the best move is legally in both situations. They offer their expert advice and expertise to reach the best possible outcome for physicians. In other words, they can make sure whatever choice the physician makes is the one that is most likely to result in a positive outcome.
Here is an article about which contracts physician lawyers can help with and how.
How Much Does a Physician Contract Review Cost?
Being a physician requires much schooling and practice before one is getting paid to do the job. Consequently, the average rate of pay of physicians is around $300,000 a year.
Since contract negotiations that physician attorneys handle are often complex and worth large amounts of money, their fees can be larger than your average lawyer's.
Depending on experience, schooling, and reputation, these lawyers’ legal fees can cost anywhere from $250 an hour for a relatively new lawyer for simple contract review cost up to $500 or more for medical malpractice lawyers or highly experienced negotiators with stellar reputations.
Even though the cost may sound exorbitant, the benefits that physician contract lawyers offer are priceless. The ability to negotiate the terms of contracts that deal with hundreds of thousands of dollars is a highly sought-after skill. Additionally, in the long run, doctors almost always end up losing less money on a lawyer than they would on a non-helpful contract.
Learn more about contract reviews and how much they cost by reading this article .
Find a Physician Contract Lawyer
If you’re looking for a physician contract lawyer, we know it can be difficult to find the right fit. The attorney you work with must know how to advocate for you to get the best results.
Post a project on ContractsCounsel today to get connected with highly skilled physician lawyers who are well-versed in the areas you need assistance with today. All lawyers are vetted by our team and peer reviewed by our customers for you to review before hiring.