You’re nearing the end of the formal training phase of your career. You’re probably planning your next career move, and possibly interviewing or even considering an offer.
Unfortunately, business, legal and financial issues are neglected areas of physician training. This is expected, given the overwhelming volume of the clinical knowledge you must master. Near the conclusion of my Family Medicine residency, I remember feeling hesitant and apprehensive. As I began to contemplate my next career move, I thought…
- What kind of practice did I really want to pursue?
- Where did I want to work?
- What factors should I consider?
And, once I had completed some interviews, and had a contract in my hand, I had some troubling concerns…
- Is this a fair offer?
- What are the critical factors that need to be addressed in this agreement?
- What are the “land mines” in the agreement that might explode in my face years after signing it?
- Am I maximizing my income AND protecting against potential unseen legal issues?
I found, as you will, that I was making decisions that would dictate the direction of my life for years or decades to come.
For you, many of those decisions will be codified in your employment agreement. Needless to say, you should not enter into such an agreement lightly. In fact, you should probably try to have as deep an understanding of the implications of that contract as you would any commonly encountered patient illness. The terms of your employment agreement will govern many aspect of your life for years, so it must be understood and optimized.
I understand the challenge this presents to young physicians. That’s why I have created this blog – to share my insights from several perspectives: as a former physician employee; as a past physician entrepreneur that employed physicians, and as Senior VP and CMO responsible for recruiting and hiring physicians for a healthcare organization. Using this blog, I hope to serve as a guide for young physicians entering this phase of their careers. I hope to bring some clarity to many of these issues. As such, I will be writing about:
- The components of an employment agreement
- Opportunities to optimize salary, bonuses, vacation and benefits
- Understanding different payment models
- Avoiding decisions that can come back to bite you later, like tail coverage and non-compete clauses
- Developing a strategy for selecting your future practice
- Tips on preparing for an interview
- Proven negotiating tactics
- Anything else readers might want some advice about
I will provide tools, checklists and references that you should find helpful. I plan to enhance the written materials by posting accompanying videos and audio recordings, for those that prefer them.
And I want this to be interactive, so you will be able to post comments and engage in online conversations.
From my corporate perspective, I will share my thoughts on topics like:
- Which terms are likely to be negotiable (and which might not be)
- What are the expectations of the employer, including large corporate employers (i.e., hospitals and health systems)
- What issues tend to come up later that can cause unwelcome drama in your life
- What happens when the agreement is reaching the end of its term
- What are the “black swan” events that you never expect and how to prepare for them
There is a lot of possible material to cover.
And you can help me out. Please respond to this post with suggestions about what I should address first. Look at the Contracting Topics page and let me know which are your burning issues. What issues do you want me to address first? What are your priorities when it comes to negotiating an employment agreement?
Please respond using the form below. I really look forward to facilitating this dialogue and learning about your challenges and concerns. And my hope is that you can use a Great Contract to secure a Great Job on your way to a Great Life.