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Optometry-Contract-Review

OPTOMETRIST CONTRACT REVIEW

Chelle Law provides Optometrist Contract Review for optometrists entertaining a new job or renegotiating an existing optometry employment agreement. You have worked hard to develop your skills and deserve to advance in your professional career with a fair market value agreement. So, when you are about to enter into a optometry agreement, getting employment agreement services before signing is vitally important. The terms of the agreement will impact your practice and your day-to-day life. Attorney Robert Chelle can provide an overview of your agreement, identify the areas that could be improved and assist you in negotiating the best agreement possible. Each optometrist that requests Mr. Chelle’s expert assistance receives:

  • Available in any state
  • Flat-rate pricing, with no hidden costs
  • Review of your proposed employment agreement or agreements
  • Phone consultation reviewing the OD contract term by term
  • Follow up contact with a review of the needed clarifications

Optometry Agreement Negotiations

Optometry agreements are a pervasive and obligatory part of every job search for optometrists. Well-drafted agreements help to enumerate the responsibilities of the involved parties, divide liabilities, protect legal rights, and insure future relationship statuses. These touchstones are even more crucial when applying their roles to the case of a optometrist employed by a hospital, corporate owned group, or private practice. While agreement drafting and negotiation can be a long and arduous process, a search for quality legal representation is a must in order to ensure that your rights are being protected before you start your new job and sign a new agreement or independent contractor agreement.  The present day conclusion is simple: you should not sign an agreement without having the agreement reviewed by legal counsel.  For instance, concerns include: license defense, OD board policies, employee salary increases, attorneys fees, salary negotiations upon expiration on the associate agreement document, fees, etc.

Optometrist Employment Contract Checklist Form

Every OD employment agreement is unique.  However, nearly all contracts for healthcare professionals should contain several essential terms.  If these essential terms are not spelled out in the optometric agreement, disputes can arise when there is a disagreement between the employer and employee as to the details of the specific term.  For instance, if the PA is expecting to work at the practice Monday through Thursday and the employer is expecting the provider to work Monday through Friday, but the specific workdays are absent from the optometric Agreement; who prevails?

Spelling out the details of your job is crucial to avoid conflicts during the term of your employment.  Below is a checklist of essential terms that optometric agreements should contain (and a brief explanation of each term):

  1. Practice Services Offered: What are the clinical patient care duties? Are you given time for administrative tasks?
  2. Patient Care Schedule: What days and hours per week are you expected to provide patient care and have patient contact?
  3. Locations: Which facilities will you be scheduled to provide care at (outpatient clinic, surgical sites, in-patient services, etc.)?
  4. Outside Activities: Are you permitted to pursue other part time jobs while employed? Do you need permission from the employer before you accept those part time related positions?
  5. Healthcare License:  Will the practice offer reimbursement for your license or assist in license defense for the Healthcare Board?
  6. Practice Call Schedule: How often are you on call (after hours office call, hospital call (if applicable)?
  7. Electronic Medical Records (EMR): What EMR system is used? Will you receive training prior to providing care?
  8. Base Compensation: What is the annual base salary? What is the pay period frequency?  Does the base compensation increase over the term of the optometry Agreement?
  9. Productivity Compensation: If there is productivity compensation; how is it calculated (wRVU, net collections, patient encounters, etc.)?
  10. Practice Benefits Summary: Are standard benefits offered: health, vision, dental, life, disability, retirement, etc.?
  11. Paid Time Off: How much time off is offered? What is the split between vacation, sick days, CME attendance and holidays?
  12. Continuing Medical Education (CME): What is the annual allowance for CME expenses and how much time off is offered?
  13. Dues and Fees: Which business expenses are covered (licensing, DEA registration, privileging)?
  14. Relocation Assistance: Is relocation assistance offered? What are the repayment obligations if the optometry Agreement is terminated prior to the expiration of the initial term?
  15. Signing Bonus: Is an employee signing bonus offered? When is it paid?
  16. Professional Liability Insurance: What type of professional liability insurance is offered for the employee: claims made, occurrence, self-insurance?
  17. Tail Insurance: If tail insurance is necessary, who is responsible to pay for it when the optometry Agreement is terminated?
  18. Term: What is the length of the initial term? Does the optometry Agreement automatically renew after the initial term? Are there annual reviews?
  19. For Cause Termination: What are the grounds for immediate termination for cause?
  20. Without Cause Termination: How much notice is required for either party to terminate the Agreement without case?
  21. Practice Post Termination Payment Obligations: Will you receive production bonuses after the optometry Agreement is terminated?
  22. Non-Compete: How long does the non-compete last and what is the prohibited geographic scope?
  23. Non-Solicitation: How long does it last and does it cover employees, patients, and business associates?
  24. Notice: How is notice given? Contact via email, US mail, etc.?
  25. Practice Assignment: Can the optometry Agreement be assigned by the employer?
  26. Alternative Dispute Resolution: If there is a conflict, will mediation or arbitration process be utilized?

Breaking a Optometrist Agreement with a Non Compete

Optometry non compete agreements were originally considered as restraints of trade, and thus were invalid on the grounds of public policy at common law; however, many restraints of trade incident to agreements were upheld based on the rule of reason.  Thus, restrictive covenants between optometrists not to compete after termination of employment are generally enforceable as long as it is reasonable.

However, there are a few states which prohibit non compete contracts.  Please check your state laws for non compete contracts to see what the specific rules for your state are.  The general test for reasonableness of non-competition agreements holds that on termination of employment, a covenant  which restrains an employee from competing with his former employer is termed reasonable if:

  • The restraint is not more than required for protecting the employer,
  • It does not inflict any untold of hardships to the employer, and
  • The restraint is not injurious to the public.

 Non Compete Job Reasonableness for Employees

For instance, in Ohio, judicial reviews found a non-competition clause was unreasonable when it was noted that a provider’s sub-specialty was uncommon, and that it would be harsh if the restrictive covenant was enforced as the hospital where he was precluded from practicing was only one of the few institutions in the area where he could practice his specialty.

Thus, in Ohio, covenants restraining providers from competing with his employer on termination of employment is considered unreasonable if it inflicts untold of hardship on the optometrist, is injurious to the public, if the demand for the optometrist’s medical expertise is important for the community people and if the services are important for the health, care and treatment of public.  However, non-competition clauses, in general, are enforceable as long as they protect some of the employer’s legitimate interests.

OD Independent Practice Concerns for Work Contracts

You face much risk when they take optometry contract matters into their own hands. Optometry contract terms are highly negotiable and have a great impact not only on professional life but also on lifestyle, family and the future.  There are many important employment terms and clauses in optometry contracts which can present new complex and diverse issues for any provider, including:

  • Unfavorable call schedules
  • No assistance in license defense
  • Small Production Bonuses
  • Lack of Benefits
  • Not enough paid-time-off
  • Unfair Non-Compete with no annual reviews
  • Inadequate professional liability coverage

Optometrist Contract Lawyer

When your optometry contract is analyzed by an experienced attorney, you will find financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of the analysis. Leave it to the experts. If you are in need of assistance with an optometry agreement or optometry contract analysis schedule a Optometrist Agreement Review with Chelle Law today!