Physician Contract Lawyer
Our physician contract lawyer will review your contract and identify the areas that need improvement, assisting you to negotiate the best contract possible.
Our physician contract lawyer will review your contract and identify the areas that need improvement, assisting you to negotiate the best contract possible.
Contract Review | Available in Any State
Gain Contract Leverage for Years to Come
Robert Chelle has reviewed or negotiated over 2000 employment agreements for health care providers over the last two decades.
As the founder of Chelle Law, Rob strives continuously to provide the best service and experience for his clients.
Employment contracts are a pervasive and obligatory part of nearly all business and legal transactions. Well-drafted contracts help to enumerate the responsibilities of the involved parties, divide liabilities, protect legal rights, and ensure future relationship statuses.
These touchstones are even more crucial when applying their roles to the case of a physician employed by a hospital, medical group, or other health care provider.
While contract drafting and negotiation can be long and arduous, legal representation is necessary to protect your rights.
There is to take contract matters into their own hands.
In addition to the specific professional implications, contract terms can significantly impact a physician’s family, lifestyle, and future. There are many essential contract terms and clauses which can present complex and diverse issues for any physician, including:
Additionally, often the most influential terms and clauses in any employment contract are the ones that are not present. A physician must review an employment agreement before signing it due to the advent of productivity-based employment agreements.
Attorney Robert Chelle has practical experience drafting and reviewing physician contracts for nearly every specialty.
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 the contract, you will be in a better position to decide whether you want to enter into the agreement, which will affect your career life for years to come.
An independent contractor agreement is a vital part of the modern workplace. For many professionals, including in the healthcare industry, working as an independent contractor can offer several benefits, such as having control over your work schedule and enjoying the ability to collaborate with multiple companies.
The financial benefits gained from having your contract reviewed and negotiated by an experienced healthcare attorney far outweigh the costs associated with a review. You are a valuable resource, and you should be treated and respected as such.
Attorney Robert Chelle will personally dedicate his time to ensuring you are fully protected. He will assist you in the contract process to represent your interests fairly.
Every physician’s contract is unique. However, nearly all contracts for health care providers should contain several essential terms.
Disputes may arise due to disagreements between the parties concerning a specific point when these essential terms are missing in contracts.
For instance, if the doctor is expecting to work Monday through Thursday and the employer is expecting the provider to work Monday through Friday. The specific workdays are absent from the agreement. Who prevails?
Spelling out the details of your job is crucial to avoid contract conflicts during the term of your employment.
Below is a checklist of essential terms that contracts should contain (and a brief explanation of each term):
1. Practice Services Offered: What do the clinical patient care duties include? Are you given time to review administrative tasks? How many patients are you expected to see (like in pediatrics)?
2. Patient Care Schedule: What days and hours per week are you expected to provide patient care? What is the surgery schedule? Are you involved in the planning of your schedule?
3. Locations: Which facilities will someone schedule you to provide care at (outpatient clinic, surgical sites, in-patient services)?
4. Outside Activities: Are you permitted to pursue moonlighting or locum tenens opportunities? Do you need permission from the employer before you accept those practice medicine-related positions?
5. Disability Insurance: Is disability insurance provided (short-term and long-term)?
6. Medical License: Will the practice offer reimbursement for your license? Will an advisor be provided?
7. Practice Call Schedule: How often are you on call (after-hours office call, hospital call (if applicable))?
8. Electronic Medical Records (EMR): What EMR system is in use in the practice of medicine? Will you receive training or time to review the system before providing care?
9. 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?
10. Productivity Compensation: If there is productivity compensation, how is it calculated (wRVU, net collections, patient encounters)? Is there an annual review?
11. Practice Contract Benefits Summary: Are standard benefits offered: health, vision, dental, life, retirement? Who is the advisor of human resource benefits?
12. 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?
13. Continuing Medical Education (CME): What is the annual allowance for CME expenses, and how much time off will you receive?
14. Dues and Fees: Which business financial expenses are covered (board licensing, DEA registration, privileging, AMA membership, Board review)?
15. Relocation Assistance: Is relocation assistance offered? What do the repayment obligations include should agreement termination occur before the expiration of the initial term?
16. Signing Bonus: Is an employee signing bonus offered? When is it paid? Do you have to pay it back if you leave before the initial term finishes? Are student loans paid back? Is there a forgiveness period for student loans?
17. Professional Liability Insurance: The offered types of liability insurance (malpractice): claims made, occurrence, self-insurance?
18. Tail Insurance: If tail insurance is necessary, and if there’s a contract termination, who is responsible for paying for it?
19. Term: What is the length of the initial term? Does the contract automatically renew after the initial term?
20. For Cause Termination: What are the grounds for immediate termination for cause? Is a review provided to dispute the termination?
21. Without Cause Termination: How much notice is required for either party to terminate the agreement without cause?
22. Post-Termination Payment Obligations: Will you receive production bonuses after the contract terminates?
23. Non-Compete: How long does the non-compete last, and what is the prohibited geographic scope?
24. Financial Retirement: Is a financial retirement plan offered?
25. Non-Solicitation: How long does it last, and does it cover employees, patients, and business associates?
26. Notice: How is the notice given? Via hand delivery, email, US mail? Does it have to be provided to the employer’s attorney?
27. Practice Assignment: Can the employer assign the agreement?
27. Alternative Dispute Resolution: If there is a conflict regarding the contract, will mediation or arbitration process be utilized? What is the standard attorney review process for conflict? Who decides which attorney oversees the process?
What should you know before you sign your first physician employment contract? This question is a broad topic, but we’re going to hit the main areas, things to think about before signing your first employment agreement.
First, determine whether the compensation you’re being offered is fair market value. There are a couple of, I guess, good ways of going about trying to find that. Well, the MGMA, the medical group management association, collects annual salary data from across the country.
If you can access that, they have a lot of good information about total compensation, average net-collections, and average RVUs generated by specialty. It’s hard to get that info sometimes.
I mean, if you Google around, you might be able to find some of the compensation data that’s a couple of years old. Or you can talk to someone who has access to the data, like for our firm, we have access to the data. So, we can tell the physician exactly what the numbers say. Now, that’s certainly not the be-all-end-all.
There are other services out there that offer something similar. But I also think it’s limited because some specialties have a tiny sample size. In addition, just total compensation should not be the determining factor when looking for a job. Alright, so that’s compensation.
Another way of thinking about it would be, if you have classmates in your training program, you need to ask them what they’re receiving. It’s going to vary based upon geography and then setting.
Are they going into a hospital network? Are they going into the federal facility? Or are they going into private practice in some way? It is good to speak to people you train with to see what they’re being offered. And then mentors are another excellent place.
Some doctors in Ohio must sign contracts promising not to seek employment with a competing company before an employer can hire them. These agreements have been controversial, but the law is currently taking action to help keep both parties happy for now.
Recently, these clauses were enforceable only if there was some legitimate interest from the employer and would damage their ability to find qualified staff later or hurt public health care.
Those who need legal advice should consult an attorney before signing any contract like this.
You should know what rights may come into play down the road when things go wrong with your current job, regardless of whether non-compete reviews by lawyers seem necessary at first glance!
The purpose of a non-compete clause is to have a legally binding agreement between an employee and their employer that the employee will not leave to go work for a competitor for a set period of time. A few of the types of restrictions that are common with non-compete clauses include:
Many ask, are non-compete agreements enforceable from a business? The contract is enforceable as long as a non-compete is written well and serves the employer’s interests but is not broader than necessary.
Many myths have come about regarding non-compete agreements, and it is much better to be safe and sure about any contract you are signing as an employee.
Non-competition Agreements that are Too Restrictive
Non-compete agreements prevent employees from leaving and joining a competitor company. This type of agreement can be very restrictive, with some states limiting the enforceability or, if fully enforced, rendering it almost impossible for an individual who has left his previous job in that field to find work again.
Non-competitive agreements may seem like they provide stability but do not protect companies since competition brings innovation within any business climate.
Non-compete agreements are preventing professionals from being able to find work in comparable jobs. Without adequately written and phrased non-competes, professionals won’t be able to change employment when they need or want to.
The inability to change jobs has severe repercussions on a person’s life. After years of education and skills training, they cannot get a job with the same pay anywhere else because there is no competition for these positions within their geographic area!
Whenever a non-compete is signed, there has to be something of value given to the employee in exchange for signing the agreement.
Being hired for the job is the typical value exchange for a newly hired employee. Current employees must receive other considerations for value exchange; otherwise, the non-compete isn’t enforceable.
The courts also won’t enforce an agreement when it restricts the competition for too long a period. Usually, six months is considered normal. This time could vary from business to business.
The courts may not enforce non-compete agreements if it restricts someone from working in a large territory. The towns, counties, or cities are often listed, but if too wide an area, it would be unfair and therefore not enforceable.
No, some states prohibit or severely curtail the restrictions in physician non-competition clauses. Those states where a physician non-compete is currently banned or limited include:
The answer is yes, they can. However, if breaking their contract means that they’re breaching it, they’re not adhering to the terms that they agreed upon, they may have some legal or financial consequences that you will want to consider before making that decision.
So, before you break the contract, there are normally lots of different ways that you can be led out of your contract. You always want to go to your PA employment agreement and read it very carefully.
There are normally many clauses on termination. Your employer can terminate your agreement for cause if you have violated some policies, you’ve lost your license of practice, or you’re convicted of a crime. There’s normally enumerated the list there.
And if any of that happens, then your employer will terminate the agreement. Another way you can be let out of your employment agreement is a without cause termination. Most employment contracts and you want to read yours carefully, will have a clause in there that says you may terminate your employment without cause.
It can be for any reason or no reason at all upon giving a certain amount of notice. The range can be anywhere from 60 to 90 days. Occasionally, if you’re in a rural area or a high-need area, sometimes it can go up to 120 days. If you want out of your contract, you need to give written notice and it needs to be given properly.
Again, this can be a little unique to each situation, so you want to look at the employment agreement and it will state how you need to give proper notice.
It’s usually always in writing, it can be hand-delivered to certain personnel, sometimes it must go through certified mail, other times you’re able to email it to certain personnel as well. So, just make sure you give your notice properly and you give your notice at the appropriate time.
Like we talked about, it’s normally 60 to 90 days and then you can be let out of your agreement, that’s the best way to do it. However, even if you do it this way, there still might be some financial consequences. If you received any type of sign-on bonus or relocation bonus or reimbursement, those types of bonuses when you’re given a lump sum upfront whenever you’re starting your employment, normally have some sort of requirement that you must complete a certain period with the company. This is normally anywhere from one to three years.
And if you terminate your employment for any reason within that time, you may have to pay back that entire bonus, or you may have to pay back the bonus at a prorated amount which means however many months you’ve been there, a portion of that amount is forgiven.
You always want to be careful that you’re not just breaching the contract. Again, because even if you breach the agreement, there may be something in your contract called liquidated damages or something about damages. Meaning, if you break this agreement and you don’t give proper notice, you will have to pay your employer tens of thousands of dollars. So, this is something you always want to look out for.
I do see this in about 50% of all the contracts that I review, so you want to be careful. Breaking a contract is serious. So, I always recommend consulting an attorney. That’s something we do here at our firm to make sure that you are terminating your contract properly.
Tail Insurance, also known as Extended Reporting Period coverage, must be purchased when a physician has claims-made professional liability insurance coverage. Tail insurance covers the gap between when a physician leaves an employer and when the statute of limitations on filing a medical malpractice claim ends.
Malpractice coverage is a type of professional liability coverage that helps protect physicians and other healthcare professionals from the financial risks associated with lawsuits in which patients claim personal harm due to an incident involving medical care.
The coverage depends on how much the policy is worth (premium), and your specialty – personal injury attorneys are more likely to take cases against physicians working in hospitals than those who practice family medicine or internal medicine in private practice.
Most malpractice insurance carriers provide coverage with a deductible clause that can range between $0 -$100k per incident, with most doctors opting for higher deductibles due to lower premiums.
A deductible clause in a malpractice policy stipulates that the insurance company will not provide coverage for any expenses incurred by the insured for injuries or damages up to an agreed-upon amount.
The typical company’s deductible is usually $5000, but it can be higher, sometimes as high as $50,000, depending on individual state requirements and claims history.