Physician Compensation Disputes

Our business and healthcare law firm represents physicians who find themselves in compensation disputes with medical practices, hospital systems and other employers. The continuing trends of physician-employment and creative production-based compensation methodology have created circumstances conducive to disputes over compensation. We can assist you in evaluating your dispute and developing legal strategies to obtain payment of compensation.

Georgia and South Carolina Physician Compensation Litigators

The focus of our law practice is representation of healthcare providers. A reality of law practice geared toward protecting physicians and other healthcare providers is a changing legal landscape. The healthcare industry continues to wrestle with how to provide healthcare at the highest possible levels of quality while containing the cost of doing so to what is affordable. This effort and the political pressures that dovetail with it continue to seek creative ways to properly compensate production and reward “quality” or “outcome” based on particular metrics and “relative value units” or “RVUs.” The types of compensation schemes that have developed are varied and continue to morph and develop. The most typical compensations models are geared toward one of the following four premises: (1) fee-for-service, which compensations doctors for a fixed amount for each service performed; (2) capitation, which provides compensation based on the total number of patients under the physician’s care; (3) salary, which is fixed compensation not tied to variables present in other compensation models; and (4) performance, which encompasses various models that incorporate financial incentives for meeting certain metrics or goals. Variations of the above four structures can include:

  • Straight salary/minimum-income guarantee
  • Salary plus bonus/incentive
  • Equality/equal shares
  • Productivity plus capitation

To make the subject of physician compensation even more complex, physician payment schemes are subject to applicable federal and state fraud and abuse laws, such as Stark Law and the federal Anti-kickback statute, and numerous potential laws in each state that might implicate how physicians are paid (e.g., self-referral statutes, medical practice acts, and fee-splitting statutes).

The complexity of physician pay schemes can be unwieldy and prone to disputes. Our law firm has experience in dealing with a variety of physician pay schemes, both at the transactional stage and when a dispute occurs. Additionally, our attorneys are experienced litigators who know how to responsibly and effectively utilize litigation, arbitration and/or mediation to recover compensation-based legal claims for physicians.

Do you have a valid legal claim for physician compensation?

The starting point for a physician in evaluating his or her circumstances to determine if a legal claim for unpaid compensation is viable is the employment agreement itself. If it is clear or probable that compensation has not been fully paid, then the physician should evaluate whether the economics of pursing a recovery (i.e., the cost of engaging legal counsel relative to the potential benefit if successful) make sense. An experienced litigator who is mindful of the costs, professional and other risks, and unpredictability of litigation (or arbitration) should be engaged to fully evaluate the details of the physician’s compensation dispute. If a decision is made to pursue legal recourse, often the first step is to make a demand for payment in an effort to obviate a formal legal dispute. If legal action is needed, experienced legal counsel with the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct litigation against well-funded adversaries should be retained. If a physician has a legally viable claim for unpaid compensation, meticulous and thoughtful legal work and advocacy can be effective in obtaining a recovery.

Contact Us

Hamil Little has offices in Atlanta and Augusta, Georgia. We are successful litigators with experience handling complex cases, including physician compensation disputes, and will review your dispute to assist you in determining your options for obtaining a recovery. To schedule a consultation, contact us at our office nearest you, or email us at info@hamillittle.com.