Signing that first contract with a healthcare facility can be both liberating and terrifying. Either way, the process is much easier if you know what to look for when you're reviewing the contract.
Use this checklist to make sure the contract answers all the questions you should ask before signing on the dotted line.
1. Duties and obligations
2. Credentials and privileges
- Number of hours you are expected to work, call schedules and overtime policy
- Number and type of patients you are expected to see each day
- Procedures you are expected to perform
- Non-medical responsibilities (administration, meetings, community involvement, speeches, etc.)
- Additional employment restrictions
3. Typical performance issues/criteria for evaluation
- Types of credentials and privileges and where they are required
- Timeframe for obtaining credentials and privileges
- How will your performance be evaluated, and how will the evaluation affect your income?
- How will revenue, quality of care, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and cost savings affect it?
5. Employment status
- Flat salary vs. hourly rate
- Salary based on fees billed, fees collected or practice's total profits
- Performance incentives, bonuses, revenue sharing, profit sharing and managed care risk sharing
- Intervals and increments by which compensation will increase
- Cash up front, signing bonuses, moving costs, transition expenses and income guarantees
RELATED: Thinking About Signing a Contract? 6 Physician Negotiation Tips
- Employee vs. independent contractor
7. Facility locations
- Malpractice insurance (claims-made vs. occurrence coverage)
- Tail and nose coverage
- Coverage amounts (per claim and aggregate)
- Health/life/disability insurance
- Vacation, sick leave, maternity/paternity leave, jury duty, military duty
- Pension and profit-sharing plans
- Continuing medical education
- Professional dues and fees
- Travel and entertainment expenses
- Automobile allowance
8. Contract terms and termination
- Requirements to practice in multiple locations
- Length of contract
- Provisions for termination with or without cause (with dismissal causes clearly defined)
- Will money owed through bonuses or productivity be paid at termination?
- Can the employer deduct the cost of malpractice premiums from money owed you?
- Restrictive covenants/non-compete agreement
- Are disputes handled by mandatory arbitration or in a court of law?
Be sure to look over your contract carefully and ask any questions as they come up. And remember: A promise is just a promise unless it's in writing!
SEE ALSO: What New Doctors Need to Know About Contract Negotiation