Understanding Physician Contract – 5 Things Every Doctor Must Review

Physicians should review their employment contracts with a lawyer

Every employer will draft an employment contract in a way that will benefit them. They will always want to get the most out of the physicians they hire. So, whether you’re starting your first job as an attending physician or switching jobs, you must know what and how to review your employment contract. Here are five things you should review in your employment contract.

  • Termination Provisions

Ideal contracts list termination provisions that benefit both the employer and employee. However, there are employers who draft contracts that are only favorable to them. For example, an employer could have the right to terminate a contract if the employee becomes ill or disabled. In other cases, employers may not even need a reason to terminate a physician’s contract. Every physician must know the specific details that could lead to the termination of their contracts.

  • Obligations

The obligations section of your contract will contain your job responsibilities. Many physicians normally assume that they know what’s expected of them. If you don’t understand your duties well, an employer may demand you to work extra hours without compensation. It is critical to understand what duties you’ll be responsible for in the new job. 

  • Compensation set-up

Physician compensation setup can be incredibly complex. Hospitals and medical practices are now using the physician’s productivity to determine how much they will be paid. For contracts with a productivity stipulation, the physician needs to be sure that their other responsibilities won’t affect their productivity. Other responsibilities that the physician could be doing include training new colleagues and administrative duties.

As you review the compensation set-up, start off by calculating your base salary. This should be more than enough to cover all your basic expenses while still being left with a bit for saving or repaying debts.

  • Contract Term

A contract term is how long a contract is expected to last and whether it can be renewed. The contract term also includes the requirements that must be met for the contract to be renewed. Physicians must ensure that they know their contract terms. It is important to know how long they’re expected to work with an employer in a specific role and the ways available to increase their earnings. Imagine a physician working for a hospital for more than 5 years and there is no opportunity to get a salary raise.

  • Non-compete clause

The number one cause of physician frustration in employment contracts is non-compete clauses. Young physicians will usually see their employers as saving angels. They will sign their contracts hastily, thinking they will work with them forever. However, after a few years more exciting opportunities will start to present themselves. A non-compete clause can get in the way of such exciting offers. A non-compete clause will limit the physician in the regions they can work in or companies they can work for.

Physicians should be extremely keen before signing their employment contracts. This contract will dictate their future lifestyles and their fulfillment at the workplace. Physicians should always seek legal counsel before signing an employment contract. Physician contract lawyers will be able to tell them whether the contract was written with their best interests in mind or not.

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