Know How to Negotiate Your Contract!

What does it take to thrive? To reach your financial goals, it’s best to enlist the assistance of professional negotiators with your best interest in mind when negotiating a physician contract. We do the legwork for you so you can focus on your patients and life’s work while we fight for the best deal you can get.

It is not advised to rely on basic research when it comes to how to negotiate such an important document. A lot of advice articles that you find online will only cover straightforward scenarios and basics that don’t address the special circumstances that occur during real contract negotiations. That’s why you need experts on your side.

Because they are legal documents that set the stage for you financially, our contract review process includes both an attorney and a financial advisor. The former evaluates your compensation and financial position overall; the latter incorporates this evaluation into the legal review and negotiation process.

The process works like this: you provide us with your employment documents and other information related to the opportunity. Then we schedule two important calls: one with one of our expert financial advisors and the other with an attorney, each of whom specializes in guiding doctors through the contract negotiation process.

During your call with the financial advisor, s/he will provide a detailed, written comparison of your offer to industry standards as well as the MGMA database and our own database, and then use that to discuss what changes could be requested.  During your call with the attorney, s/he will incorporate the issues discussed with the financial advisor, discuss issues posed by the legal documents, and then coach you in negotiation strategy.

After these calls, if you would like to continue communications with the employer, we will wait in the wings, ready to answer any questions, step in if needed, and prepared to review and discuss the employer’s response. If you would like the attorney to negotiate for you, s/he is willing to do so for no additional charge.

The average client will have thorough phone calls with the advisor and attorney at the initial review stage, and then a briefer phone call or email correspondence after negotiation, in order to review the employer’s response, to help decide whether to sign the new (normally final) contract version.

Long story short? Physician employment agreements are complex. We can help ensure you negotiate a contract that will allow you to thrive.

Let’s talk!

doctors life podcast

The Doctor’s Life Podcast Episode 034- Leaving Your Current Employer

So what happens when you decide it’s time to move on from an employer? When you have decided you’re leaving your current employer, there are many things to consider including your contract and performing a full-scale job search.

Justin Nabity is in The Doctor’s Life Podcast studio with answers to questions you will have when you are leaving your current employer. All episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast are available here, iTunes, Android, and on SoundCloud. Make sure to subscribe and you will be the first to get new episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast. Continue reading…

doctors life podcast

The Doctor’s Life Podcast Episode 025- Entering The Partnership Track

Entering the partnership track is no joke. There is a lot that you need to know about your employer or future employer that maybe you don’t see day-to-day.

Justin Nabity is in The Doctor’s Life Podcast studios to guide you through entering the partnership track. All episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast are available here, iTunes, Android, and on SoundCloud. Make sure to subscribe and you will be the first to get new episodes of The Doctor’s Life Podcast. Continue reading…

Know Your Malpractice Insurance Options

busy-doctorMax Schloemann of Diederich Healthcare has put together a great piece on your malpractice insurance options.

Whether it’s a change in employment, a move to a new state, or the sale of your practice, almost every doctor will someday need to evaluate malpractice insurance options.  When these times are upon you, you may feel overwhelmed with making decisions in a time crunch.  You still have patients to care for, a life outside of medicine, and now you need to solve your malpractice insurance problem.  Fortunately, you are not alone.  Read on or contact one of our medical malpractice insurance specialists to make sure your medical liability protection transfers seamlessly.

When changing jobs, doctors should seek to better understand their options regarding their medical professional liability insurance.   Those doctors who simply “go with the flow” may end up paying thousands more than someone who proactively works with a true malpractice insurance expert.  Or worse yet, you may find out that you did not secure the proper coverage after you are named in a lawsuit.

There are two basic types of malpractice coverage – claims-made and occurrence.

Claims-made is the most common type of medical malpractice insurance in the country.  When ceasing a claims-made policy, you need to either:  1) purchase tail from the current company, 2) purchase a standalone tail from a competing carrier, or 3) purchase nose coverage back to your current retroactive date when you obtain a new claims-made policy.   Sometimes the option is yours.  Other times, you may be required to buy tail rather than just getting prior acts (aka nose) coverage on your next policy (Pennsylvania is one state that can actually suspend or revoke your medical license if you do not take the proper steps).

Your retroactive date can be thought of as the beginning of an “exposure period.”  As long as you have a policy that covers you back to your retroactive date, you do not need tail.  Once you stop the policy covering the nose, you need to secure tail so that you continue to be covered for anything that occurred on or after your retroactive date.  Examples are provided to help illustrate this concept.

Occurrence coverage is simpler to understand, though less commonly offered.  Carriers find it more difficult to accurately assign premiums to risk exposure with occurrence, so most do not offer it, or it is offered at a higher price than claims-made, making it less attractive to the potential policyholder.   If you are currently covered under an occurrence policy and looking to change jobs, you do not have to worry about covering your tail (at least for now). Continue reading…

Malpractice Insurance: Who Is Responsible for It?

As with all professions, there are times when it is best to leave and pursue a new working relationship for whatever reason. In the physician world, a change can come with a hefty price tag. That is because malpractice insurance should not or in some cases cannot end on your last day of work.

So who is responsible for the cost of continuing the insurance plan after you leave? In most cases, it’s you. Now, what sort of amount are we talking about? It can be anything from $10k to over $200k depending on specialty, history, location and overall claims experience by the group.

When we say ‘professional liability insurance’ we are referring to malpractice insurance. It’s a benefit that most doctors are provided while employed but it then terminates once they leave. There are two types of malpractice insurance. Claims based or occurrence based coverage. Most employers have claims based which only covers you while working within the organization. Once you leave it ends…but the risk of being sued does not. In light of this, another 2-4 years of protection is necessary. Who picks up this cost? Normally you have to. And this is what you’ve probably heard of before. It’s called tail coverage.

If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to at least know how much you should be saving up for this going away gift or shall we say expense.

If you’re about to enter into a new agreement it’s better to approach the situation with a strategy of getting the employer to pick up all, half or at least some of the cost. One way you can address it is by saying ‘whoever is responsible for termination is going to pick up the cost’. That doesn’t remove 100% of the liability to you, but it is better. Another thing you can do is say, “the longer you stay there the more the employer picks up.” You could go at it with a straight up 50/50 sharing of the cost. At the end of the day, you should have a conversation with them about it because in more than 80% of the cases that we negotiate, we are finding employers are willing to change and offer something more favorable. If you have nothing to do with termination you should not be responsible for 100% of this cost.

The other type of malpractice insurance is called occurrence based. This actual covers you any time the claim occurs, even after you’re gone. There is much more risk taken on by this type of policy which is why most employers don’t offer it.

A question we often get asked is, “can I just ask my new employer to give me occurrence based coverage so that this risk is addressed?” The answer is usually no because this is a group benefit change and it would require everyone to get a new policy at an entirely new cost which we’ve seldom seen an employer do.

Whatever the case may be…know what you have or what you’re going to get. Have an action plan to address it. The earlier the better and know that it is OK to have the conversation and you are not the only one doing it. We hit this topic with every contract negotiation we do and the worst kind of response we’ve gotten is that they say “No.” It’s worth a shot and it makes the transition to a new organization much smoother.

Two Physicians Talking

Physician Contracts: Independent Contractor or Employee?

Download The Doctor’s Life Podcast Episode 014- Employee or Independent Contractor HERE

Pros and cons for physicians looking at different employment designation options

As you evaluate different physician contracts, you may come across opportunities to work as an independent contractor rather than an employee. Learn more here about employment designations and some potential issues physicians should consider with each option. Continue reading…

Physician Contract Review FAQ’s Part 2

What should I expect regarding partnership eligibility and benefit repayment?

Our team of attorneys and advisors assist hundreds of physicians each year with employment and partnership contract reviews.  Of course, in the process, they get many questions.  This is another installment of answers to questions frequently asked in physician contract reviews, specifically around partnership eligibility and benefit repayment. Continue reading…

Knowing how hard to negotiate in physician employment contracts

The Benefits of Professional Contract Review

During their medical training, physicians are taught about medicine.  They are not taught how to analyze an employment contract, nor how to evaluate the reasonableness of a given compensation and benefits package.  That is why we encourage physicians to consult with a lawyer and compensation advisor on these matters – they have the required expertise to review these issues. Continue reading…

Magnifying Glass on Contract

The Non-Compete Clause: What is it? Is it enforceable?

The Positives and Negatives of a Non-Compete Clause

When reviewing an employment contract, one of the first things physicians look for is the non-compete clause. It’s only natural to think about the level of job flexibility if they wish to leave an employer, especially when it’s not a good fit. Statistically, younger physicians will remain at their first job only two to three years. Continue reading…