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Physician employment agreements: Tips to steer clear of pitfalls

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2023 | HEALTH & HEALTH CARE LAW - Health & Health Care Law |

Physician employment agreements shape the relationship between doctors and healthcare institutions. These contracts, however, can be a minefield if not navigated with care. 

As such, it’s prudent to understand what you are signing up for before appending your signature to this document. Here are some valuable tips that can help protect your interests.

Ensure you fully comprehend the terms of the employment agreement

An employment agreement is like any other legally binding document and ambiguities or vagueness in the contract language can often lead to misunderstandings in the future. 

Therefore, it helps to ensure your responsibilities, compensation structure and work expectations are clear and comprehensive from the get-go. This sets a strong foundation for the working relationship and minimizes the scope for conflicts arising from misinterpretation.

Beware of overly restrictive clauses

Another pitfall to be wary of is the presence of restrictive covenants in your employment agreement. These clauses can significantly impact your career trajectory since they are enforceable in most cases. 

For instance, understanding the extent of non-compete and non-solicitation clauses is essential, as they can limit your professional options in the event of a departure.

Termination clauses are equally important

Unforeseen circumstances can prompt either party to part ways before the agreement’s term ends. Given that your employment contract could affect how you practice medicine after you leave for a new job, having a well-defined exit strategy can help prevent legal battles or disputes when such time comes.

Do not underestimate the need for legal guidance

It’s best to have an informed evaluation and review of your employment agreement before putting pen to paper. That way, you can easily identify any potentially unfavorable terms that may cause you trouble and negotiate more favorable terms that align with your expertise, experience and the job market.