What Should I Review in a Contract?

When signing a physician contract, you should first review the contract. You will need to know what to look for in doing a contract analysis. This can reduce your future risk and set you up for a successful future. Contracts are just a fact of life when working in the healthcare system, and it is best to know what you are doing in signing a contract.

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Reviewing a Medical Contract

Reviewing contracts should require special care and keeping an eye on detail. Key information must be included, as well as ensuring your expectations are managed properly. Too many times, those who are normally very careful just plunge ahead, barely glance over the contract and sign it. This can end them up in a bad situation. Consulting with an attorney can assure you have a contract where your interests are fully protected.

What Process to Look For in a Review of the Terms

There are a number of points that need to be reviewed in any agreement, and if they don’t meet expectations, they will need to be negotiated. Some of these points are:

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Schedule
  • Vacation Time
  • Sick Days
  • Time Off
  • Conditions of Termination
  • Hold harmless provisions
  • Indemnification provisions
  • Rights and Responsibilities

Make Each Negotiation Step Successful

The contracts you are given to look at is only a starting point. Any point of agreement within contracts can be negotiated. Both parties want the agreement to happen, so feel free to work on it to get everything to your satisfaction. Be sure to fill in every blank on a contract so they can’t be filled in later by someone else. Initial any changes. Keep everything clear.

Doing Due Diligence with Business Management Law in Mind

In reviewing a contract, even when having an attorney help you, it is vital you do your own due diligence. It all comes under the heading of managing risks for your career. You want to have all parties happy but everything written in proper, legal form so nothing is in question. The safest bet is to hire a contract review attorney to work with you and negotiation.

Do doctors sign contracts? This question can be answered right away with an unequivocal yes. After their residency, a doctor will very likely go to join a practice group. In this case he will be asked to sign a medical contract.

Physicians and Signing Contracts

Do doctors sign contracts? Physicians go to school to prepare them to work with patients and to work in medical settings. Many physicians are not adept or comfortable in working with contracts and with negotiating contracts. However, it is something that must be confronted head-on as it can make a huge difference in your future. Before signing the contract, you should use that time to negotiate what is needed to make sure the contract covers all points effectively. Some things won’t be negotiable but that doesn’t prevent you from asking.

How Should Contracts be Negotiated?

Contract negotiations are like any negotiation. It is both conversation and numbers. You are establishing a relationship with an employer and he or she is establishing a relationship with you. You both are determining how you will fit in with the company, the operations and the business strategy. You are searching out a good fit, and making sure everything is covered in the contract with the proper terminology.

Some Tips for Contract Negotiation

  • When negotiating a contact, before you sign, you should read over it and take your time to understand everything. Clarify anything that isn’t clear to you.
  • Ensure you get anything in writing that was promised prior to receiving the contract.
  • Ask about money and long term plans. This is important for your future.
  • Know what kind of patients the practice sees and what sort of payment contracts they have.
  • Study and find out the total compensation package, not just the salary.

Will You Get Help With  a Contract Review?

Hiring a contract review attorney is a very wise decision as you want to be sure everything is in order before you sign. A contract attorney will know and understand the rules of the region where you practice and will see that everything in the contract is worded and formatted correctly so you are protected in the future.

Failing to Hire a Contract Attorney with Specific Knowledge of a Physician Employment Contract

Failing to hire a contract lawyer with specific knowledge of physician employment agreements can result in problems. When you hire an experienced attorney, you will avoid many pitfalls that can have long-lasting effect on your professional and personal life.

Standardizing Clauses

Hiring entities seem to be moving towards taking employment contracts and standardizing them, trying to simplify matters. However, there is still an opening to negotiate contract terms. In fact, it is important that you do, as you want the contract to cover the important points and not be open to any interpretation. This is one reason a contract lawyer is so important in the analysis of employment agreements. Unfair or ambiguous points of a contract can be addressed and handled.

Possible Pitfalls to Watch For

A very important point to watch is the contract language. It can be vague or favorable to the employer and not the employee. It can show up anywhere but is particularly difficult when it comes to the physician’s schedule and duties. When you see the words “… will be determined by the practice…” it is time to be wary.

Bonuses and compensation based on productivity are another area to scrutinize carefully. Any payment of bonuses and incentives should be paid through the time of termination rather than a specific date. The wording here is crucial. The benefit start date also should be carefully reviewed or the physician could get stuck paying COBRA premiums himself until the start date in the contract of the new employer.

Restrictive non-compete clauses must be reviewed so it doesn’t keep a physician from working for other specific competitors. These clauses also should be reviewed so the doctor won’t be restricted from areas near where he now lives.

Why Hire a Contract Attorney?

A contract lawyer will be able to effectively analyze a contract, making sure anything vague or which is an overreach is modified and made clear and reasonable. All the contract terms need to have reasonable boundaries, and a contract attorney can ensure this occurs.  Each contract should benefit both parties and not just the employer.  Concerns should include professional liability, estate management planning, specific contract articles involving job duties, breach of contract remedies, associate transition to partnership and client needs.

Lawyer Contract Review

When an experienced attorney reviews your physician contract, you will find financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of an attorney. Leave it to the experts. If you are in need of a review of an agreement or contract analysis schedule with a Physician Contract Review with Chelle Law today!