I matched an AOA Internship... any ideas on how to break contract?

kullad

10+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2008
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Hey guys I matched a Traditional Rotating Internship.. I want to break the contract... Does anyone know how I can go about breaking the contract without disqualifying me from doing another AOA program the same year.

After receiving the contract from the institution, the student has thirty (30) days in which to sign the contract and return it to the institution. Beyond 30 days, the institution has the right to notify the student of its decision to withdraw the contract offer. In such cases, when a contract is withdrawn because the student fails to sign it, the student is in violation of his/her Match commitment. Such a breach of contract precludes the student from taking any other AOA-approved training program for one (1) year, and from AOA approval of any postdoctoral training during that year. Only students for whom the institution has a signed institutional contract may receive credit for the OGME-1 year..........is there any way for me to avoid this?
 

MedLaw

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Jan 12, 2008
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You could possibly bring a suit against the AOA (possibly class action if you got enough students) to declare that the agreed remedy (See Restatement of Contracts (second) Section 356) was unreasonable, argueing that the clause is against public policy and is unconscionable....... But of course that leaves the decision to the court, and the court would almost certainly declare the clause reasonable... anyway that would problaby take longer than a year just to get in court.....

(NOTE: the above is NOT legal advice, only a law student who JUST returned from contracts class over the topic of agreed remedies, and therefore should not be considered legal advice in anyway) :p
 
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kullad

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Apr 21, 2008
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haha thanks Medlaw, the problem with waiting a year is that after the Match I was able to pick up an Osteopathic General Surgery Residency. According to the AOA if I break the contract I will not be eligible to participate in any other AOA program for a year. So I would basically not only lose my Internship but I would lose my surgical residency as well. So I am kind of in a pickle. So I basically asked nicely if the director could release me and his response was " I cannot. You Matched the program and where sent a contract. I expect to see you in June for orientation". I sent him another email pleading my case but I haven't heard anything yet.

I hope that it does not come down to court. :(
 

MedLaw

10+ Year Member
Jan 12, 2008
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I'm sorry to hear about your situation, but honestly I don't think there is anything you can do. You already made a commitment and agreed to the remedy of missing out on a year if you breach your contract. (It's like when you click "I agree" every time you install software, there is a clause that says your only remedy is arbitration or a replacement product.)

The only thing I see possible is pleading with them to release you, maybe even ask if you can buy out of the contract. However, I'm sure it's not money they are wanting to get out of you.

Tony
 

GregsAnatomy

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Agree with above; unfortunately it sounds like you are stuck.

My best advice would be to talk to the program director at your general surgery program. They may be willing to let you complete the internship year and then start your surgery residency the following year as a PGY-2. Good luck!
 
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kullad

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Apr 21, 2008
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Medical Student
Thanks guys I appreciate it. I am basically doing just that, pleading with the director as we speak... Starting as PGY-2 is not an option I asked the director and he said that he wants me to start as a PGY-1 instead of coming into the program as a PGY-2. I am going to keep pleading with the director to release me. I hope this works out.... From what I remember I think all the surgical residencies filled for this year AMA and AOA so I am pretty much the luckiest bastard alive, but if I can't get released then I am screwed:cry:..

Thanks again, I'll keep ya posted
 

DrWBD

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(Note: I am not a lawyer, so don't take any of my post as legal advice)

The director of the internship knows darn well that the odds of getting another intern to fill your position are close to zero. Knowing this, pleading to get out of the internship isn't likely going to do you any good. He has nothing to gain by letting you go. The program director would rather have a miserable intern than none at all, because a warm body in that internship means $$$ for the hospital and justification of his job.

Knowing this, you should then understand that that the Match does not exist for the benefit of residency directors. It's for the benefit of you, the student. I would find a lawyer right now who is familiar with the Match and get them working for you ASAP to help you keep that Surgery position. You may have to spend a lot of money and time, but if your goal is to become a surgeon, you absolutely shouldn't let this go without a fight.
 
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kullad

10+ Year Member
Apr 21, 2008
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Medical Student
Thanks Wanna_be_DO I think that is exactly what I am going to do. I called him last week and his secretary informed me that they were doing everything possible to find another intern. I honestly do not believe that but at the moment I have no choice. I plan on driving up there and having a face to face sit down. :cool:

I have been sent the contract from the surgical program but they have not signed and returned it. They are aware that I am under another contract. I am afraid that while all this is going on, the Surgery Director will be looking for other options. This has been going on now for two weeks and I have not received an answer. I will be calling a lawyer sometime this week. Thanks for the advice....... and I can not say which program this is..... Sorry :D
 
Feb 4, 2011
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Thanks Wanna_be_DO I think that is exactly what I am going to do. I called him last week and his secretary informed me that they were doing everything possible to find another intern. I honestly do not believe that but at the moment I have no choice. I plan on driving up there and having a face to face sit down. :cool:

I have been sent the contract from the surgical program but they have not signed and returned it. They are aware that I am under another contract. I am afraid that while all this is going on, the Surgery Director will be looking for other options. This has been going on now for two weeks and I have not received an answer. I will be calling a lawyer sometime this week. Thanks for the advice....... and I can not say which program this is..... Sorry :D
any update to what went down here??
 
Aug 20, 2014
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If you disagree with the contents of a contract you do not have to sign it. The match doesn't force you to sign any contract they throw in your face. You can disagree with the payment, verbage, clauses, benefits, etc. A contract is between the entity and you. Just because they may use a generic contract with all residents does not mean all residents have to agree to all clauses.

Speak to an attorney have them contact the institution as your mediator. I do not talk contracts with any corporation and allow my attorney to do all reviews, revisions, and negotiations. This is the corporate world and if you do not proceed in the same fashion the hospital/corporation does, then you will be hung out to dry. Ever hear the term, don't show up to a gun fight with just a knife?
 
Jul 25, 2011
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If you disagree with the contents of a contract you do not have to sign it. The match doesn't force you to sign any contract they throw in your face. You can disagree with the payment, verbage, clauses, benefits, etc. A contract is between the entity and you. Just because they may use a generic contract with all residents does not mean all residents have to agree to all clauses.

Speak to an attorney have them contact the institution as your mediator. I do not talk contracts with any corporation and allow my attorney to do all reviews, revisions, and negotiations. This is the corporate world and if you do not proceed in the same fashion the hospital/corporation does, then you will be hung out to dry. Ever hear the term, don't show up to a gun fight with just a knife?
When you sign up for the match, you agree to a binding contract between yourself and whatever program that you match to.

Which clauses were you able to customize in your personalized contract with your residency program?

Anyway, OP left the premises years ago.
 
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Aug 20, 2014
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When you sign up for the match, you agree to a binding contract between yourself and whatever program that you match to.

Which clauses were you able to customize in your personalized contract with your residency program?

Anyway, OP left the premises years ago.
You sign a weak binding contract to go. However, you didn't sign the institution contract or they wouldn't send you it after the match to sign.
 
Jul 25, 2011
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So, among the litany of clauses - practically all of which are boilerplate - were you or your lawyer able to revise any of them to your liking? Inquiring minds want to know.
 
Aug 20, 2014
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So, among the litany of clauses - practically all of which are boilerplate - were you or your lawyer able to revise any of them to your liking? Inquiring minds want to know.
This is not my own personal experience.

A friend of mine who was a MD/JD was able to change certain verbage in his contract. They tried to state "this is a generic contract we use with all our residents". He stated, that's great and all but I am not signing their contract, I am signing my contract.

If the match process was "a contract", they wouldn't send you a contract to sign after the fact. It is like the NFL draft. You enter the NFL draft, you get drafted by Pittsburg but you say you will not play for Pittsburg. You sit out the year and then you are able to go to a different team after. Nobody can force you to sign Pittsburg's offer when they drafted you. It is the same sort of setup. This is why you hear of players drafted in the NFL that have not finished their contracts after the draft for a longer time.
 
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I want to know which part of his GME contract or housestaff manual he was able to change (presumably because the PD was in awe of his law degree - or maybe his impending Nobel Prize). Duty hours? Stipend/benefits? Call room amenities? Due process? Specifics, please. Until then, I'll keep his wild claim in the Interesting Stories file.
 
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j4pac

PM&R resident
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Folks...you can't have it both ways. If you rank AOA...you better be ready to go. By pulling out you are screwing the residency program.
 
Aug 20, 2014
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Folks...you can't have it both ways. If you rank AOA...you better be ready to go. By pulling out you are screwing the residency program.
Nobody is worried about you when you are fired. It is just business and it goes both ways. Hospitals terminate employees all day every day, you shouldn't bend over backwards and go somewhere that isn't right. The residency will be just fine and I am sure they will find a last minute replacement as well. Don't be guilt tripped into a position.
 

j4pac

PM&R resident
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Aug 22, 2005
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Nobody is worried about you when you are fired. It is just business and it goes both ways. Hospitals terminate employees all day every day, you shouldn't bend over backwards and go somewhere that isn't right. The residency will be just fine and I am sure they will find a last minute replacement as well. Don't be guilt tripped into a position.
What the OP is attempting to do is undermine the system...and people on this forum are essentially giving legal counsel to do so. You know the rules...I know the rules...everyone knows the rules. If you match, you go...or you sit out.

People giving advise to fight it out in court are just wrong. It is sending the wrong message to other SDN members. You try to game the system you will lose. Don't do it.
 
Aug 20, 2014
131
64
What the OP is attempting to do is undermine the system...and people on this forum are essentially giving legal counsel to do so. You know the rules...I know the rules...everyone knows the rules. If you match, you go...or you sit out.

People giving advise to fight it out in court are just wrong. It is sending the wrong message to other SDN members. You try to game the system you will lose. Don't do it.
It is not undermining anything. You do not have to sign any contract they put in front of you plain and simple. If you disagree with the terms of the contract you can negotiate it. If that was the case, the contract would have been tied into the match service, which it is not.

Programs tell you different things than they actually put in your contract. For example, vacation days and electives. If this is different than you were told, you can say I am not signing this contract and want the contract with the originally stated allocated time. Would you sign a contract given to you saying you will be paid $10,000 for the year? I doubt it.