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Contracts!! Now what do I do?

Discussion in 'Anesthesiology' started by Laurel123, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. Laurel123

    Laurel123 Member
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    Happy holidays everyone!

    OK - so the happy news is that I have a job offer and a contract in my hands in my city of choice. It is very exciting.

    However, the contract is long and confusing and it is like reading stuff in a foreign language! How did you guys work through these contracts? Did you hire a contract lawyer to help you? Buy a book?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. Gimlet

    Gimlet Cardiac Anesthesiologist
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    Congrats!

    Anyone with a law degree should be able to take a look at your contract and tell you if it's kosher or not. My mom practices adoption law, but she has looked over doctors' contracts for friends before. If you or your parents have any lawyer friends, see if they will do it for free (buy them lunch or something, maybe).

    [Edit: Maybe someone from legal at your residency hospital will take a look at it...couldn't hurt to ask!]
     
  4. militarymd

    militarymd SDN Angel
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    Have a lawyer look at it. Pay for a lawyer to look at it. That ways some one is liable for your interpretation of the contract. If things don't work out at your job, then you have to relie on your contract.

    If you misinterpreted the contract, then you're screwed. If your lawyer screws up your contract, then they can be responsible for any of the losses that you may incur.
     
  5. iron

    iron Member
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    There are attorneys who specialize in medical contracts. Contact your state medical association to see if they know any. North Carolina Medical Society used to offer a referral with discount to a medical professional contract attorney. There are also attorneys who specialize in -anesthesia- contracts. Maybe ASA can refer you. I think I may have seen an advert in Anesthesiology or A&A. You will be making over 100k/year, over $1 million in less than 10y. Put in perspective, the attorney fees who more than likely pay for themselves. If not in dollar amounts then peace of mind.
     
  6. davvid2700

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    make sure the pay is acceptable
    the vacation is spelled out
    the out clause (I quit).. is not too long.. 8 weeks is ok anything more is bad
    partnership is spelled out ( buy in)
    the Buy out is spelled out.. (very important)
    IS it equal footing .. after you become partner do you have an equal vote in the corporation or will some slob still tell you what to do and when to do it until he dies? ( if its not.. dont join the group)
    make sure they buy your tail when you leave.. if you have to buy it, prob will cost you a lot..
    You must be allowed to see how much the corporation makes and how much everyone else is making.. if not.. ( not fair)

    If the above (at minimum) is not satisfied.. dont join the group it aint fair.. ..

    why join a group and buy into a partnership and when you leave not receive a buy out.. doesnt make sense.. they are taking you for a ride

    DO not join if they will not let you look at the books on a periodic basis.. If you are their employee you are not entitled.. you just negotiate a fair price for yourself. if you are on a partnership.. they must let you see.. Otherwise Not fair.. Look elsewhere

    those are just tips and pointers that I came acrosswhen i was looking for a job.. My current situation offered me all of this. so not totally all inclusive
     
  7. aredoubleyou

    aredoubleyou Senior Member
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    Did you find most places didn't offer those things - or is this a relatively standard and ethical contract.
     
  8. davvid2700

    davvid2700 Membership Revoked
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    Most places will try to take you for a ride.. Its up to you to have your antennas waving and listen. IF you think the partnership thing they are offering is BS Just offer to work for them w/o partnership and negotiate a fair price for yourself.. Make sure every call you take is "paid" for.. You dont work for nothing anymore. You are fully trained. Everything you do is extra money..

    Its really complicated after residency.. be very careful.. there are many many people ( sharks) more than willing to screw you if you let them..
     
  9. pazzer2

    pazzer2 Member
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    If you are serious about this job, then its worth it to pay a few hundred bucks to have a knowledgeable healthcare attorney look at it.

    Whatever you do, DON'T go to just any attorney. Better to go to a firm with a large health law practice (note that health law is not the same as medical malpractice).

    Best way to search is using your local state medical society. Or also check out Martindale Hubble:

    http://www.martindale.com/
     
  10. Khalid

    Khalid Junior Member
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    I just signed my first contract as well, but was completely screwed out of $400 by the so-called "Health Care Attorney" I hired.

    I thought I followed all the standard procedures (ie. found a "health care" attorney with experience in physician contracts from a reputable firm in the state I would be practicing in).

    Boy was I burnt! I contacted the first to see about just looking over the contract with points for me to talk with the group I was negotiating with. He then scares me to death that I need to hire him to negotiate the contract directly with the group. Finally, when he agrees to review the contract for an agreed upon amount, he acts offended that he agreed to work for so little.

    Finally, when the night comes for my 1 hour review of the contract (I never reallized I was limited to 1 hour), he offers virtually nothing I didn't see myself and offers no alternative language other than what he comes up with on the spot (which is what I contracted for him to do!). In addition, I had to explain to him! the various structures of anesthesia groups which he apparently had no knowledge of.

    Total waste of $$$. Be careful when searching for an Ohio "health care" attorney!
     
  11. UTSouthwestern

    UTSouthwestern 1K Member
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    One month into your practice, call him and tell him that you are unhappy that he missed something in the contract that you didn't discuss and that he must now come up with a buyout sum of money or refund your $400.
     
  12. davvid2700

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    thats what i said.. the important (salient points are in my previous post) if you happy with those.. sign the damn contract.. If not (even if you love the group).. say see ya later homeys.. find another sucker to work for you
     
  13. Khalid

    Khalid Junior Member
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    That would be nice, huh!?!

    Unfortunately, I think he made it clear that since he wasn't negotiating the contract he was just reviewing it or something like that. I was really dumb but learned a valuable lesson I hope.

    David makes some valuable points above, but really, all entry-level contracts appear to have some risk involved IMO. Be wary, but your own best instincts are the best defense against poor treatment.
     
  14. Lonestar

    Lonestar Senior Member
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    Reading all these posts gives me this uneasy feeling about finding a job for myself in the future. I guess this type of gestapo business model appeals to people who themselves have been abused in the past and just can't wait to abuse the next generation. Good luck to you guys who are negotiating contracts. Just remember to help out your younger brethren when you make partner.
     
  15. Old_Mil

    Old_Mil Senior Member
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    Do they typically remain the same from year to year, or is there a de-esclation % to take the guarantee down if you don't bonus? What's a typical threshold (billed, not collected) of production?

    What about non-compete clauses? Never sign them? Or are they pretty common?
     
  16. ncdoc1974

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    I did not pay anyone to review the various contracts I received....I did have a lawyer friend read over them with me and he found lots of things that "made him nervous" in every contract (like termination without cause)...Here's my take: I have yet to meet anyone who has ever negotiated some major clause in a contract successfully, joined the group, and is "all good now." I know if our group got a call from a lawyer representing a future graduate trying to negotiate some aspect of a contract that all 75 members of our group had signed, we would probably be wishing we had not offered a contract to that person. NOW, that said I am not saying that there aren't some tricky things in some contracts, but if you are joining a well established group, feel comfortable with the people in the group and understand what is in the contract, sign it and get on with your life...I believe it is far more important to talk to, be comfortable with, and trust the people in the group than have a lawyer rip a contract to shreds...Also, the shorter the contract the better...ours is about 6 pages. The longest one I got while interviewing was 43 pages...not good...one of my friends had a "verbal agreement" which has worked out fine, but I would at least shoot for a little bit in writing.
     
  17. sevoflurane

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    I'm just about to sign a contract. Had 3 on my desk over the last couple of months. I went with the group that appeared to be the most honest. It's like a marrige- you have to have trust in whom you are signing with and it has to feel right.

    The group I'm about to sign with has offered to pay all my lawyer fees regarding my contract review/negotiation. To me, that meant that they aren't hidding squat.
     
  18. 2ndyear

    2ndyear Senior Member
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    That's very good of the group to pay the lawyer fees. I'm curious as to what you were able to negotiate into or out of your contract.
     
  19. bubalus

    bubalus Member
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    Depending on the size of the group, you may not be able to negotiate a contract. I know a large group in a desirable area where everyone signs the same contract. If you want to negotiate, they will find someone else to take the job, and it would take them all of 10 minutes. That doesn't mean you shouldn't have someone review the contract to know what you're getting into.

    Reading a contract can be a little scary (termination without cause, etc) but I find it helps to also consider the group's point of view, particularly in the context of when I'm a partner in the group.

    Though there are some bad groups out there, not everyone is out to screw you. The bottom line is that you're going to end up weighing what is important to you (job, location, contract, etc) and make a choice about the whole package--great job and location with a contract that has a couple of concerns vs. crappy job in a hole with a concern-free contract.
     
  20. Pilot Doc

    Pilot Doc SDN Angel
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