Practice, hospital and health system employment relationships with physicians are spelled out in written employment agreements.
Below is a list of some common contract elements you will want to examine closely. It is not an exhaustive inventory and certainly not a substitute for formal legal advice. Because an agreement or contract is likely to be written with terms that are more favorable to your potential employer than to you, it is important to understand the terms and have a legal advisor help you analyze and negotiate terms to maximize your interests.
A lawyer specializing in physician contracts in the geographic area in which the position is located should review the contract to ensure its compliance with all state and federal regulations. This is money well spent. Bear in mind that the practice/hospital system/group had a lawyer draw up the contract in a way that is of benefit to their business. You need someone equally skilled to look out for your best interest.
Consider the contract a first draft which can be modified by your lawyer before you sign it. Don’t view it as an ultimatum that you must either take or leave “as is.” A well worded contract that meets the needs of the situation helps physician and employer alike to function well together in an efficient and trusting environment.
The above list is merely educational and no substitute for legal advice from an attorney proficient in physician contracting in the geographic area in which you are seeking employment. Their knowledge and negotiation skills will be a wise investment in your career.
American Academy of Pediatrics