By Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D.
This blog is the first in a series intended to provide an introductory review of the basics of contracting for medical graduates entering the work force as residents and fellows, primarily by discussing employment agreements. We will highlight many of the common provisions found in employment contracts, along with many of the mistakes and pitfalls that we see in our day-to-day practice.
By the end of this series it is our hope that medical graduates will better understand the common language and terms found in employment contracts for professionals. These tips purpose to assist new professionals in recognizing common mistakes made by physicians and health professionals when negotiating contract terms. We hope to help make both employers and employees more knowledgeable about employment contracts so they can avoid potential problem areas and legal entanglements.
Our comments here are meant to provide general rules we have learned from our experience. However, please remember, every situation is different and there are exceptions to every rule. These tips are not intended to constitute legal advice. We recommend contacting an experienced health attorney for questions or concerns regarding specific employment contracts, or to thoroughly review all of the contract terms prior to acceptance.
Tip 1 -“Standard” or “Routine” Physician Employment Agreements Do Not Exist.
No two employment agreements are identical. Each must be reviewed on its own terms. It is important to consult with a healthcare lawyer experienced in negotiating employment contracts and evaluating health care business transactions.
Tip 2 – Negotiation is Always an Option.
Even though an employer may have what appears to be a “standard” employment contract for all physician employees, this can have changes, amendments, schedules, exhibits or terms that are varied from physician to physician or professional to professional. Generally, large employers are less likely to change their form to accommodate the physician than small organizations, but they can and often will. Small employers are often willing to make more changes to their written agreements.
If there are any changes, additions or clarifications you need to make to the contract, then put them in writing, sign them, incorporate them into the contract and attach them to the contract.
Tip 3 – All Oral Agreements Should be Accurately Reflected in the Wording of the Contract.
If it is different or not specified, the language in the contract will govern in any future dispute.
Keep Checking Back for Future Blogs on Employment Contracting.
In our future blogs, we will continue to provide tips on various issues to watch for in health care employment contracts.
Contact a Health Care Attorney that is Experienced in the Representation of Medical Students, Interns, Residents and Applicants, Fellows and Those Involved in Graduate Medical Education.
The Health Law Firm and its attorneys represent interns, residents, fellows and medical school students in disputes with their medical schools, supervisors, residency programs and in dismissal hearings. We have experience representing such individuals and those in graduate medical education programs in the following areas: in various disputes regarding their academic and clinical performance, allegations of substance abuse, failure to complete integral parts training, alleged false or incomplete statements on applications, allegations of impairment (because of abuse or addiction to drugs or alcohol or because of mental or physical issues), discrimination due to race, sex, national origin, sexual orientation and any other matters, reviewing and negotiating contracts, preparing contracts, helping employers and employees enforce contracts, advice on setting aside or voiding contracts, litigation of contracts (in start or federal court), business transactions, professional license defense, opinion letters, representation in investigations, fair hearing defense, representation in peer review and clinical privileges hearings, litigation of restrictive covenant (covenants not to compete).
To contact The Health Law Firm, please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
About the Author: Ritisha K. Chhaganlal, J.D., is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone (407) 331-6620.
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