Ask what type of malpractice insurance is provided before signing on with a new employer
Employers typically provide physician malpractice insurance and it should be evaluated before signing.
Most employers provide professional liability insurance, also known as physician malpractice insurance, as a part of the employment benefits package. Even if a physician is employed as an independent contractor, in most cases, the corporation or group covers the cost of this benefit. But what exactly are they likely to cover?
On the surface, physician malpractice insurance seems simple enough, but there are many factors that must be taken into account. A working knowledge of how this type of insurance works is required to accurately assess the coverage being offered. Continue reading…
The specialized nature of a physician’s occupation requires a specialized plan for protecting their most important asset – their “intellectual capital and ability to work.” Therefore, selecting the right disability insurance is a strategic choice in a physician’s overall risk management plan.
The Case for Adequate Coverage
In most cases, a physician’s career spans 20-30 years depending on when they finish their training. Over those years, a physician can earn $10 – $20 million, which is the return on their investment in their medical education and commitment to their patients through the years.
Get ready to evaluate upcoming job opportunities/changes before running out of time
Begin interviewing and evaluating employment/partnership opportunities one to two years before finishing training or at least six months before the initial term of your current contract.
Residents and fellows have often told us that they receive very little training in the business and financial areas that are critical to beginning their career after completing training. Many find their last year and especially the final months to be a sprint, having to cram many very important things in all at once. Such as… Continue reading…
Be prepared for employment interviews by knowing what to look for, what to ask, how to compare and start the negotiation process
Since physicians are trained to practice medicine and not to interview or negotiate, it is common for many to find themselves unsure of exactly what to look for in a potential employment relationship.
A key indicator of this problem is that about 60% of physicians who leave their employer do so within the first five years, according to the 2010 Physician Retention Survey by the American Medical Group Association and Cejka Search. Continue reading…
Letters of Intent within Contract Negotiation Process
Be careful not to “tie your negotiation hands” when signing an offer letter.
Many employers use a Letter of Intent, also known as an Offer Letter, to get new physicians to agree to certain terms before they draft the actual employment contract. This is a routine part of the negotiation process, but it should not be treated as such.
Sometimes the Offer Letter is written in such a way that it is binding and other times it is not. The key point here is to make sure that when signing an Offer Letter, the employer knows that you are signing it without settling on the final terms until you have reviewed the entire contract. It is advisable to consult with an experienced contract attorney early in the process, even before a letter of intent is on the table, so you can address key terms up front. The longer you wait to bring up concerns and areas of negotiation, the harder it will become to get the employer to consider alternate terms. Continue reading…
Using Multiple Offers for Contract Negotiation
Having multiple employment offers provides additional leverage during contract negotiations
When physicians are considering more than one employment offer, they often have additional leverage during negotiations. The reason for this is that the physician can utilize the strengths of each offer as a way to request changes in the competing offer(s).
For a very simplified example, all else being equal, Employer A offers a compensation package of $200,000 with a signing bonus of $20,000 while Employer B offers $215,000 and no signing bonus. Continue reading…
Take advantage of tax benefits from investment vehicles
Physicians who have signed new physician contracts, are close to or have even started with their new employer or business partner(s) should begin preparing for the various tax management strategies with their investment opportunities.
Whether this means working at a practice for the first time or transferring to a new one, the non-medical aspects of becoming established can seem like unfamiliar territory.
One area of new territory is a physician’s employment benefits. Continue reading…
Pros and Cons of Without Cause Termination Provisions
Go into physician contract negotiations with a healthy perspective on the “without cause” termination provision and protect your practice with counsel from attorneys who specialize in physician contract review and negotiation.
Most employers have physician employment agreements (physician contracts) drafted with a provision in them that allow “without cause” termination. This means that employees can be fired or leave at any time for any reason.
The following is a short introduction to this provision.
Definition of Disability –“Own Occupation” vs. “Any Occupation”
Beware the different definitions of disability found within disability insurance contracts. Some masquerade as if they provide true “own occupation” when in fact they do not. Make sure you get the most out of what you are paying for.
Doctors have varying degrees of understanding when it comes to the definition of disability found in a disability insurance contract (a.k.a. policy).
As the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”, so is the quality of disability insurance is found in the fine print.
For example, some insurance companies have plans that include language such as “full benefits are paid when unable to work in your own occupation” while others promise to only pay full benefits when “unable to work in any occupation.”
What does “own occupation” mean to a physician?
It means that if a physician is unable to work in the occupation of their specialty, regardless of whether or not they could work in a different occupation in medicine, teach, do research or something else outside of medicine, that they still can collect full benefits.