What Is a Physician Contact Review?
A physician contract review is when an attorney specializing in health care reviews your contract and gives you guidance on the terms of the agreement. Since a physician contract is also an employment contract, and a legal document, physicians should handle this contract carefully.
The document governs how a physician practices and governs how physicians will be compensated for their practice. Often details like incentives, behaviors, hours you’ll be expected to work, and even the medicine being practiced are included within this document as well.
A contract review can help you better understand your overall physician employment agreement, including:
- How to negotiate with your practice's vendors and providers
- How much you should pay for services from your practice's vendors and providers
- What are other people paying for similar services from their vendor or provider
- What kind of pricing benchmarks are competitive in the market
- How much you’ll be expected to pay for malpractice insurance
Here is an article with a helpful guide for a physician contract review.
What Should a Physician Contract Include?
There are many types of employment contracts, and all are worth reviewing by a lawyer, however, a physician’s employment agreement has certain legal ramifications that make it a prime candidate for physician lawyer review. When completing a contract review, physician lawyers will look to see that a few things are included.
- Compensation. How much will you be paid? When will you be paid? Is your compensation salary, hourly, or commission-based?
- Benefits. What benefits are included in the contract? Examples of common benefits include health insurance, disability insurance, and retirement savings plans.
- Work Schedule. What are the hours that you are expected to work? What is the call schedule?
- Vacation. How much vacation time are you entitled to?
- Scope of Practice. What is the scope of your practice? Are there any restrictions on the type of patients you can see or the procedures you can perform?
- Location. Where will you be working?
- Noncompete Agreement. Does the contract include a noncompete agreement? If so, what are the restrictions?
- Termination Clause. What are the circumstances under which the contract can be terminated? How much notice must be given before the contract is terminated? What are the consequences of terminating the contract early?
If a physician is not satisfied with their current contract, which serves as their employment agreement, they may be able to negotiate with their employer to change some of the terms and conditions. However, it is important to remember that once a contract is signed, it is legally binding.
Here is an article about understanding employment contracts.
Terms to Look for When Reviewing a Physician Contract
Here are some terms you should pay close attention to when reviewing your physician contract:
- Sign-on bonus. You may be able to negotiate a sign-on bonus, which is a one-time payment made to you for agreeing to work for the practice.
- Relocation expenses. If you are moving to take the position, be sure to have the practice reimburse you for your moving expenses.
- Student loan repayment. Some practices offer to repay your student loans as an incentive to join their team.
- PTO. Paid time off includes vacation days, holidays, and sick days. Be sure to know how many days you are entitled to and what the policy is for accruing and using PTO.
- CME allowance. Continuing Medical Education credits are important for physicians to maintain their license. Many practices will offer a certain amount of money to cover the costs of CME courses.
- Disability Insurance. This type of insurance protects your income if you are unable to work due to an injury or illness.
- Life Insurance. Life insurance is a benefit that can help your family financially if you die.
- Retirement plan. Many practices offer a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), as an employee benefit.
- Professional Liability Insurance. Also known as malpractice insurance, this type of insurance protects you from lawsuits alleging that you committed medical negligence.
- Productivity Bonus. This is a bonus that is given to physicians based on the number of patients they see or the amount of revenue they generate for the practice.
- Quality Bonus. This is a bonus that is given to physicians based on the quality of care they provide, as measured by metrics such as patient satisfaction scores or health outcomes.
- Paid Call. If you are required to take call, be sure to understand how much you will be paid for your time.
- Medical Directorship. If you are interested in becoming a medical director, look for a clause in your contract that outlines the requirements and compensation for this role.
- Academic Appointment. If you are interested in working at a teaching hospital or medical school, look for a clause in your contract that outlines the requirements and compensation for this role.
- Clinical Trial Participation. If you are interested in participating in clinical trials, look for a clause in your contract that outlines the requirements and compensation for this role.
- Research Stipend/Support. If you are interested in pursuing research, look for a clause in your contract that outlines the stipend or other support that the practice will provide.
- Stock Options. Some physicians have an employment agreement that includes stock options, which give you the opportunity to purchase shares in the practice at a discounted price. This can be a great benefit if the practice does well financially.
- Noncompete Agreement. Many physician contracts include a noncompete agreement, which restricts your ability to work for a competing practice if you leave the current practice. Be sure to review the terms of the clause carefully to understand the restrictions.
- Termination Clause. All physician contracts should have a termination clause that outlines the circumstances under which the contract can be terminated. Be sure to review the clause carefully to understand your rights and obligations if the contract is terminated.
When it comes to your career, it's important to be mindful of the contracts you sign. An employment contract review specifically for physicians can help ensure that you are getting a fair deal and that you understand the terms of your agreement.
Here is an article with a comprehensive guide to physician contract reviews.
How Long Does it Take to Review a Physician Contract?
Typically, it takes between one and two weeks to review a physician services agreement. However, the time it takes can vary depending on the length and complexity of the contract. If you have any questions about the contract, be sure to ask your attorney for clarification.
Here is an article with some “do’s and don’ts” about physician contract reviews.
Should You Have a Physician Contract Legally Reviewed?
It is not required that you have a legal employment contract review for your physician contract. However, it is generally in your best interest to contact lawyers for physicians, as they will help protect your legal rights.
A legal review can help ensure that you understand the terms of your contract and that the contract is fair.
Here is an article explaining why it is important to have a physician contract legally reviewed.
How Much Does it Cost to Review a Physician Contract?
The cost of reviewing a physician contract varies depending on the length and complexity of the contract and the hourly charge of the physician contract lawyer. Typically, the cost ranges from $500 to $2,500.
Here is an article that reviews costs when it comes to getting a physician contract review.
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