Discuss Your Employment Agreement with a Physician Contract Review Lawyer
You are preparing to accept an appointment or start a new job. You received an employment contract, and all you need to do is sign on the dotted line. But, you have some questions: Are the terms of the contract fair? Is the compensation structure in line with current standards in health care? Will you be subject to restrictions if you leave? These are all valid concerns that you will want to address with a physician contract review lawyer before moving forward.
At The Law Firm of J.W. Stafford, L.L.C., our physician contract review lawyers advise and represent doctors and other medical professionals in all employment contract-related matters. This includes reviewing medical employment contracts, negotiating medical employment contracts, and representing physicians and others who have been terminated in violation of the terms of their employment. If you have questions or concerns, our medical employment lawyers can help you make informed decisions, and we encourage you to contact us for a confidential consultation.
Key Terms in Medical Employment Contracts
Medical employment contracts contain several terms. Therefore, when evaluating an employment opportunity, it is important to carefully review the entire contract to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the terms of your employment. Our lawyers can review your contract for you, and they can explain everything you need to know in addition to answering any specific questions you may have.
While all of the terms in a medical employment contract require review, there are a number of key terms that are particularly important. For example, in a typical employment contract for a physician or other high-level medical professional, some of the key terms will include:
Your employment contract will most likely spell out a number of obligations. While these obligations may seem relatively routine (i.e., practicing within your area of specialization and maintaining ethical compliance), you need to make sure you are comfortable committing to everything that is required.
Will you be contractually responsible for HIPAA compliance? Will you be expected to perform administrative tasks? What are your responsibilities when you are on call? While you might ultimately be fine with everything your employment contract requires, you do not want to unknowingly commit yourself to something you cannot (or do not want to) do.
Physician contracts can include various stipulations with regard to compensation. While many contracts provide for fixed compensation (i.e., an annual salary paid monthly or bi-weekly), variable compensation is an option as well. If your compensation is tied to the number of patients you see or the amount you bill, you need to make sure the thresholds are reasonable.
You will also want to make sure that your compensation is in line with industry standards. Since we routinely represent physicians and other medical professionals, this is something we can assist with as well. While we cannot share any of our other clients’ confidential information, our physician contract review lawyers can use industry knowledge to advise you regarding the fairness of your compensation structure.
The benefits section of your employment contract is another one that you will want to review very carefully. You should ensure that the benefits listed align with your expectations, and you will want to have a physician contract review lawyer carefully examine the language in this section to ensure that there are no ambiguities or loopholes that work against you.
As a physician or other medical professional, you owe a duty of strict confidentiality to your patients. But, in most cases, this is not what the confidentiality provision in your employment contract will cover. Or, at least, it is not the only topic it will cover. Many employers seek to impose exceedingly strict confidentiality obligations on their employees, and they will often claim that these are “boilerplate” terms that cannot be changed.
Here too, the key is to make sure you know what your employment contract says. If you understand the confidentiality terms in your contract and are fine with them, then there will be nothing more to do. However, if you have concerns that the company is overreaching or that there is no practical way for you to comply, then this is something that you should address before you sign.
Non-competition clauses are commonplace in the health care sector, and hospitals, private practices, and other facilities and businesses frequently use them to try to prevent employees from taking their talents and knowledge elsewhere. However, while non-competes may be commonplace, this does not mean that you should simply accept an obligation not to compete at the end of your employment.
Out of all of the provisions in your medical employment contract, this is perhaps the one that requires the most attention and consideration. While there are limits on the enforceability of non-competes in employment contracts, you cannot afford to rely on winning a verdict in court to be able to practice elsewhere. These provisions will need to be negotiated in many cases, and you will want to discuss this provision with your physician contract review lawyer in detail to ensure you make a smart decision.
Default and Termination
Before entering into a contractual employment relationship, you need to make sure you have a clear understanding of the types of acts and omissions that can bring the relationship to an end. Employers often reserve broad termination rights, and it will be important to ensure that the termination provisions in your contract are reasonable and fair in light of your position and responsibilities.
Dealing with Wrongful Termination as a Physician or Other Medical Professional
In addition to our employment contract review and negotiation services, we also provide representation for physicians and other medical professionals who are dealing with wrongful terminations. If you have been terminated in violation of the terms of your medical employment contract, you may be entitled to various remedies, and acting quickly could be important for preserving the options you have available.
Speak with a Medical Employment Contract Lawyer in Confidence
If you want more information about our medical employment contract practice, please contact us to arrange a confidential consultation. Call 410-514-6099 or contact us online today.