Our physician contract attorneys can review your contract, identify the areas that could improve, and assist you in negotiating the best contract possible.
Each Family Medicine physician who requests our assistance receives the following:
- Review of your proposed employment agreement
- Consultation reviewing the contract term by term
- Assistance in negotiating with the employer (if necessary)
Medical Contract Attorney for Family Medicine Physicians
A thorough contract review can benefit new residents, attending physicians, doctors entering their first employment contract, or established physicians looking for new employment. By employing an experienced attorney for your representation, you can ensure that you will be able to fully understand the extensive and complex wording included in your contract.
By having a complete understanding of agreements, you will be in a better position to decide whether or not you want to enter into the medical contract that will affect your career life for years to come.
Important Terms in a Physician Employment Agreement
The present-day conclusion is simple: physicians should only enter into agreements by having the contract reviewed by legal counsel. There is too much at risk for a physician to take medical contract matters into their own hands. In addition to the specific professional implications, terms of medical contracts can significantly impact a physician’s family, lifestyle, and future.
There are many important terms and clauses in medical contracts which can present complex and diverse issues for physicians, including:
- Non-compete clauses
- Inadequate professional liability insurance and tail coverage
- Unfavorable call schedules
- Practice support
- Production Bonuses (RVU, net income, or hybrid structures)
- Not enough paid time off (PTO) or Vacation time
- Biased Termination Provisions (With or Without Cause)
- Continuing Medical Education (CME)
- Dues and Fees (AMA, Health Care Board)
Review of Non-Compete Clauses by a Family Medicine Contract Attorney
Most courts find that a non-compete is enforceable if it is reasonable.
The general test for reasonableness by a court or arbitrator would be:
- The restraint is not more than required to protect the employer,
- It does not inflict any untold hardships on the employer, and
- The restraint is not detrimental to the public.
Family Medicine Career Tips
As a specialist in family medicine, you play a crucial role in providing comprehensive health care for individuals and families across all ages, genders, and diseases. Here are some strategies that can help you increase your earning potential:
- Offer a Broad Range of Services: The breadth of your practice can significantly impact your income. Services such as minor procedures, joint injections, and dermatology services can increase revenue. Consider obtaining additional training or certifications to broaden the range of services you can offer. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) provides resources and training opportunities to help you expand your skill set.
- Adopt Telemedicine: Telemedicine has gained significant traction and acceptance among patients, offering an opportunity for additional income. Virtual consultations can be conducted outside of typical office hours, providing flexibility and increased patient volume. Platforms such as Teladoc can be a good starting point.
- Locum Tenens Work: Consider providing locum tenens services, which involve filling in for other physicians on a temporary basis. This can be a lucrative way to supplement your income, especially during vacation periods. Websites like LocumTenens.com can connect you with these opportunities.
- Participate in Value-Based Care Programs: Participating in value-based care programs can lead to financial incentives. For example, the Medicare Shared Savings Program rewards providers for improving the health outcomes of their patients.
- Create a Niche Practice: Consider focusing on a specific aspect of family medicine, such as sports medicine, geriatrics, or integrative medicine. Specializing can make your practice more attractive to certain patient populations and allow you to charge higher rates.
- Practice Management Efficiency: By optimizing your practice management, you can see more patients and reduce overhead costs. This includes efficient scheduling, electronic health records, and billing practices. The AAFP’s practice management resources can provide valuable guidance.
- Continuing Medical Education (CME): Regularly update your knowledge and skills through CME activities. This can enhance your practice, keep you at the forefront of medical advancements, and potentially increase your earning potential.
Always remember that while these strategies can help enhance your income, they should not compromise the quality of care you provide to your patients. Balancing patient care with income generation is key to a fulfilling career in family medicine.
Employee or physician contracts are all unique. However, nearly all healthcare contracts for healthcare providers should contain several essential terms. If these contracts do not spell out the critical terms, disputes can arise when there is a disagreement between parties regarding the details of the specific term. For instance, if the doctor is expecting to work Monday through Thursday and the employer thinks it’s Monday through Friday. Still, the particular workdays are absent from the contract—who prevails?
Checklists for a Family Medicine Physician’s Employment Agreements
Spelling out the details of a physician’s job is crucial to avoid healthcare contract conflicts during the employment contract term.
Below is a checklist of important terms that contracts should contain (and a brief explanation of each term generally discussed in negotiations):
- Practice Services Offered: What is the clinical patient care duties? Is there time for a review of administrative tasks? How many patients is the physician expected to see?
- Patient Care Schedule: What days and hours are employees expected to provide patient care per week? What is the surgery schedule? Are employees involved in the planning of their schedules?
- Locations: Which facilities will the employer schedule the employees to provide care at (outpatient clinic, surgical sites, in-patient services, etc.)?
- Outside Activities: Are employees permitted to pursue moonlighting or locum tenens opportunities? Does a physician need permission from the employer before accepting medicine-related positions?
- Disability Insurance: Is disability insurance provided (short-term and long-term)?
- Professional License: Will the practice offer reimbursement for licensing? Will an advisor be provided?
- Practice Call Schedule: How often is the employed physician on call (after-hours office call, ASC, hospital call (if applicable))?
- Electronic Medical Records (EMR): Will the employer provide training resources or time to review the system before delivering care?
- Base Compensation: What is the annual base salary? What is the pay period frequency? Does the base compensation increase over the term of the agreement? Is there a yearly review or quarterly review of compensation? Is there a group management relationship?
- Productivity Compensation: If there is productivity compensation, how is it calculated (wRVU, net collections, patient encounters, etc.)? Is there an annual review?
- Practice Benefits Summary: Are standard benefits offered: health, vision, dental, life, retirement, etc.? Who is the advisor of human resource benefits?
- Paid Time Off: How much time off does the job offer? What is the split between vacation, sick days, CME attendance, and holidays? Is there an HR guide?
- Continuing Medical Education (CME): What is the annual allowance for CME expenses, and how much time off do they offer?
- Dues and Fees: Which business financial expenses are covered (board licensing, DEA registration, privileging, ASA membership, Board review)?
- Relocation Assistance: Is relocation assistance offered? What are the repayment obligations if the contract is terminated before the expiration of the initial term?
- Signing Bonus: Is an employee signing bonus offered? When is it paid? Does the employee have to pay it back if they leave before they complete the initial term? Are student loans paid back? Is there a forgiveness period for student loans?
- Professional Liability Insurance: What type of liability insurance (malpractice) the employer offers: claims made, occurrence, self-insurance? License and litigation defense? Can you negotiate tail?
- Tail Insurance: If tail insurance is necessary, who pays for it when the agreement terminates?
- Term: What is the length of the initial term? Does the agreement automatically renew after the initial term?
- For Cause Termination: What are the grounds for immediate termination for cause? Is a review provided to dispute the termination?
- Without Cause Termination: How much notice is required for either party to terminate the agreement without cause?
- Practice Post-Termination Payment Obligations: Will the physician receive production bonuses after the agreement terminates?
- Non-Compete: How long does the non-compete last, and what is the prohibited geographic scope?
- Financial Retirement: Is a financial retirement plan offered?
- Non-Solicitation: How long does it last, and does it cover employees, clients, patients, and business associates?
- Notice: How is the notice given? Via hand delivery, email, US mail, etc.? Does it have to be provided to the employer’s attorney?
- Practice Assignment: Can the employer assign the agreement? Will the healthcare agreement require ongoing compliance with a new employer?
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: If there is a conflict regarding the contract, will mediation or arbitration be utilized? What is the standard attorney review process for disputes? Who decides which attorney oversees the process?
Lawyers for Family Medicine Physician Issues
Coming into a new organization with a favorable contract can put the physician in a positive financial situation for years to come. Before signing the most important contract of your life, contact an experienced Family Medicine Contract Attorney for assistance.