Our physician contract attorneys can review your contract, identify the areas that could improve, and assist you in negotiating the best contract possible.
Each Geriatric 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)
Physicians’ Employment Contracts for Geriatric Medicine
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 Medical Contract
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)
Non-Compete Clauses for Reviewed by a Geriatric 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.
Geriatric Medicine Career Tips
As a geriatric medicine specialist, you have the opportunity to improve the quality of life of our aging population. In terms of maximizing your earning potential, here are some tips that can help you thrive in your career:
- Specialize Further: Geriatrics is a broad field with several sub-specialties. Additional training in areas such as palliative care or geriatric psychiatry can allow you to provide more specialized services, often leading to increased compensation. The American Board of Internal Medicine offers numerous sub-specialty certifications.
- Offer Telemedicine Services: With the increase in telehealth utilization, especially among the elderly, offering remote consultations can be a convenient way to increase your patient reach and manage more patients efficiently. Platforms such as Teladoc can help you offer these services.
- Join or Establish a Multidisciplinary Geriatric Care Team: As older adults often have complex healthcare needs, being part of a multidisciplinary team can help provide comprehensive care. This team can include social workers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, and others. This approach can lead to more efficient patient management and, ultimately, higher earnings. The American Geriatrics Society provides resources and guidance for setting up such teams.
- Provide Home Visits: While it might be more time-consuming, offering home visits can increase access to care for those unable to travel, and you may be able to charge higher rates for these services. The American Academy of Home Care Medicine provides resources and support for physicians providing home-based care.
- Expand Your Practice Scope: Geriatric medicine intersects with various other medical fields, such as cardiology, endocrinology, rheumatology, and more. By expanding your scope of practice to manage these conditions, you can increase your earning potential.
- Participate in Research and Clinical Trials: This can provide additional income and contribute to advancements in geriatric care. ClinicalTrials.gov lists ongoing trials that are recruiting investigators.
- Stay Updated and Continue Learning: Geriatric medicine is a rapidly evolving field. By staying current with the latest research and treatment protocols, you can provide the best possible care for your patients and increase your value as a provider. The AGS’s Geriatrics at Your Fingertips is a valuable resource for this.
Remember, while income is essential, patient care quality should never be compromised. A successful career in geriatrics requires balancing financial considerations with the commitment to provide excellent care to our aging population.
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?
Employment Agreement Checklist for a Geriatric Medicine Physician
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?
Physician Medical Contract Review Attorney
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 Geriatric Medicine Contract Attorney for assistance.