Our physician contract attorneys can review your contract, identify the areas that could improve, and assist you in negotiating the best contract possible.
Each Internal 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)
Internal Medicine Contract Review Attorney
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 Law Terms in a 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 Review by an Internal 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.
Internal Medicine Career Tips
As an internal medicine physician, your role in diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions is crucial. However, it’s equally essential to ensure that you’re maximizing your earning potential throughout your professional journey. Here are some strategies to help:
- Subspecialization: Internal medicine is broad and provides several opportunities for subspecialization, such as cardiology, endocrinology, or gastroenterology. Subspecialties often command higher compensation. The American Board of Internal Medicine provides a list of potential subspecialties and requirements.
- Continued Education and Certification: Staying updated with the latest medical advancements and maintaining your board certification can increase your marketability and potentially your earnings. The American College of Physicians offers comprehensive resources for continued education and board review courses.
- Optimize Billing: Ensuring that you’re billing for all services rendered can increase your income. This includes becoming adept at coding and billing for complex patient visits and procedures. Consider using a reputable billing service or software to ensure you’re maximizing your reimbursement.
- Develop a Niche: If you have a special interest within internal medicine, consider developing a niche. This could be a specific patient population (like geriatrics) or a particular type of procedure (such as joint injections). This niche can set you apart from your peers and potentially increase your earnings.
- Take on Leadership Roles: Leadership roles, whether within a hospital, clinic, or professional organization, often come with additional compensation. They also offer the chance to influence policy and procedure, which can indirectly affect your earnings.
- Utilize Telemedicine: Telemedicine has been on the rise, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Offering virtual consultations can increase your patient reach and flexibility, potentially leading to increased income.
- Consider Locum Tenens Work: If your schedule allows, consider locum tenens work. These temporary positions often offer higher hourly rates and can be a good way to supplement your income.
- Work-Life Balance: While it’s important to maximize your income, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical. Overworking can lead to burnout, which can adversely impact your productivity and income in the long run.
By strategically navigating your career path, you can maximize your earning potential as an internal medicine physician while continuing to offer excellent patient care.
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?
Internal Medicine Physician Employment Agreement Checklist
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? Assistance with surgery, pediatrics, pathology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, internal medicine, neurology, cardiology, and infectious diseases?
- 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 Contract Review Lawyer
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, turn to an experienced Internal Medicine Contract Attorney for assistance.