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Top Reasons Why Physician Contracts May Need To Be Renegotiated

by  |  Physician Practices

Physician employment contracts can be very lucrative, with terms that are very favorable to the physician. However, even if a doctor signs a contract that is initially perfect for them, circumstances could change that would warrant renegotiating the terms of the contract. Here are some of the top reasons that doctors renegotiate their employment contracts.

You Believe You Deserve Greater Compensation

The top reason that physicians have to renegotiate their contracts is to get greater compensation. Perhaps you signed a contract that never paid you what you were worth in the first place. Or, potentially, you figure that you should earn more now, having had more years of experience or additional certifications. Those things should be taken into consideration when deciding compensation. Even if you have not made significant improvements in your credentials, fair market value might dictate a change in your compensation. This depends on how the market is going. You may be confused about how much money you can ask for. In order to bring a number to the table, it is imperative to get data on the average compensation both for your location and specialty. Armed with this information, you can make a strong case that you are deserving of a raise. Remember that physician compensation data can be updated annually, so it is important to check it each year to ensure that you are not leaving money on the table.

You Generate Income from Outside Of Your Job

These days, it seems like everybody has a side hustle. Physicians are generally very busy with their day jobs. However, sometimes they may have side gigs that generate income, or they might create intellectual property that brings in additional money. Physicians need to be careful about the language of their contract when it comes to this. Many contracts will require the physician to get approval from the employer to get income from a source outside of the employer. That language might also restrict the physician from monetizing any of the intellectual property that they create or even state that the intellectual property is that of the employer. Although these restrictions often apply if the side gig or intellectual property is directly related to the practice of medicine, the restrictions may be broader. 

Ideally, physicians should understand these restrictions before they sign any employment contracts. However, physicians should review these contracts, especially if they are earning income outside of the job. Physicians may need to renegotiate their contracts to earn outside income or get permission in writing to ensure that they are abiding by the contract.

A Merger or Acquisition Has Wreaked Havoc

Mergers and acquisitions are fairly common occurrences in medicine. Although they sometimes make financial sense, they can really cause problems for the doctors working in the practices. It can cause significant changes to when and where you work. It also might lead to changes in your job description, depending on what other physicians are brought into the practice. Following a merger or acquisition, it makes sense to review your contract and see if it still makes sense for you.

You Have Not Been Offered Partnership

Not all physicians desire partnership or career advancement, but for those who want it and cannot get it, it may be time to look at your contract. A merger or acquisition might change the path to these things, either lengthening the process or wiping it out completely. Contracts should clearly outline how you can advance in your position. Make sure the language states what benchmarks you need to meet and what time must elapse to advance in your career.

You’re Working in Too Many Locations

It is not uncommon for doctors to have to work in more than one location if the practice has satellite locations. While this is convenient for patients, it can be challenging for physicians. Depending on how far the locations are spread out and how often you have to switch locations, this can cost you money, time, and sanity. Check to see the terms of your locations. Is the language regarding location clear? If it is too vague, you may want to make it more specific. Renegotiating might allow you to work in fewer locations or just in one location. If the language is too vague and your practice merges with another, you could find yourself having to work in very inconvenient locations.

The Call Schedule Is No Longer Feasible

Before you start working a job, you cannot be totally sure about what it will be like. Although employers might be totally upfront about expectations, things that are completely out of their hands–like employees leaving or being hired or merging with a practice–might completely alter your schedule. Additionally, your own personal life might significantly change. While you might have been able to work an unpredictable schedule when you were younger, that might change if you decide to start a family. It may be necessary for you to maintain a better work-life balance. Renegotiating can help change your schedule for the better. Be very clear about when you will and when you will not be working.

Even if your schedule is not currently posing any problems, vague language about your schedule in the contract could cause you problems in the future. If the schedule is not spelled out, and there is broad language, your employer could decide to radically alter your schedule without your agreement. Make sure that this language is not in your contract. 

Contact a Georgia Physician Contract Attorney

Unsure whether your employment contract is fair? It is worth getting it reviewed by a seasoned Georgia physician contract attorney. We understand the market value and can help put language in the contract that is favorable to you. A consultation can help you put money in your pocket and time back in your day.

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