Everything You Need to Know About Physician Contract Review

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A professional contract review is one of the most essential steps any doctor can take before accepting a new job offer. A physician’s employment contract is worth millions of dollars and typically contains financial complexities and legal nuances that even experienced doctors require a second opinion to evaluate. To fully assess how an employment offer compares to industry standards, you need a professional contract review conducted by a financial professional and an attorney who specialize in physician employment issues. 

Medical school and residencies devote little to no time preparing physicians to review an employment contract or negotiate a job offer. As a result, doctors will often accept an initial employment offer without a full understanding of the terms, which can lead to serious consequences for their work life and earning ability. Professional contract review is a service designed to help doctors understand and improve their employment contracts, as well as assist with contract negotiation. 

Here are some of the most common questions we field from physicians about the contract review process:

 

What does a contract review consist of?

To initiate your contract review with Physicians Thrive, you will be sent an electronic link where you can submit payment and upload all documents related to an employment offer. At this time, you can also schedule appointments for your initial video/phone conference with the financial advisor as well as a second call with an attorney. 

Our team will review your employment offer before the scheduled calls, and then provide a thorough write-up comparing your employment offer to industry standards and salary averages based on MGMA data. During your call, the financial advisor will walk you through their feedback, answer questions, and discuss potential changes or areas of negotiation. On your call with the attorney, they will identify any issues with the legal documents and provide coaching for the negotiation process

Once you have finished your first calls with the financial advisor and the attorney, our team will remain available to you for any necessary assistance as your respond to the employer’s offer. Throughout this process, we can answer questions, review counter-offers, or even step in to assist with negotiation. In most cases, a client will complete the initial offer review (consisting of the two phone calls with the attorney and financial advisor), and then follow-up with our team via email or phone call to discuss the employer’s response after negotiation and look over the revised contract before finalizing. 

 

Why do I need a professional contract review?

A lucrative employment contract is the single most important financial asset for most physicians. The quality and clarity of an employment contract can have a tremendous, ongoing impact on your compensation and work life. 

Unfortunately, many prospective employers offer boilerplate contracts that contain deeply unfavorable terms. For example, many contracts may offer the potential of an attractive bonus, but once a physician begins working, they may find that the productivity requirements to earn a bonus are completely unrealistic. In other cases, an overly broad termination cause could allow the physician to be fired with no notice at their employer’s whim, or lacking appropriate tail coverage could leave a physician vulnerable to costly lawsuits. 

A professional contract review is designed to help physicians understand the fine print of an employment offer and identify potential red flags. Attorneys and financial advisors who specialize in physician contracts can explain how different aspects of an employment offer compare to industry standards and advise you about potential areas of negotiation. Salary, signing bonus, PTO, tail insurance, schedule, professional development opportunities, and loan forgiveness are all factors that you may be able to negotiate with your prospective employer. 

 

How much does contract review cost?

Most law firms offer employment and partnership contract review for a cost that usually runs well over $1,000, depending on the duration and degree of assistance. This is usually the result of the law firm charging an hourly rate of $250-350 and when their work is complete, has accumulated enough hours put you over $1,000. The good news is that your contract doesn’t have to be reviewed on an hourly basis because Physicians Thrive has flat-fee packages that are well below $1,000. Regardless of which review package you select, a contract review is a professional investment that can help you secure a more lucrative employment offer. By ensuring that your compensation package is transparent and competitive, you can earn millions more over the life of the contract. 

 

Can a contract review help me improve a salary offer?

While there is no way to be certain how a potential employer will respond to a proposed salary negotiation, contract reviews have proven highly effective for many physicians seeking a higher salary offer. Some employers are very amenable to contract negotiations, while others are highly inflexible. However, in virtually every case, it is perfectly appropriate for a physician to at least ask for their desired changes, particularly if the requests are professional, reasonable, and well-informed. 

That’s where a professional contract review can help. Our contract review services offer physicians the most detailed information about salary averages to help inform contract negotiations. While you may be able to find regional and specialty compensation averages with a quick online search, there are numerous variables that determine the competitiveness of a salary offer. Our professionals have access to the most up-to-date, meaningful resources regarding physician compensation. While these resources typically cost thousands of dollars to access, we can offer our clients access to salary data that accounts for factors such as location, subspecialty, experience, and how production can affect salary averages. 

 

I have a friend who is a lawyer. Can I just have them look it over?

While attorneys in other specialties may have an understanding of contractual legalese, they cannot provide the physician-specific expertise necessary to ensure the quality and fairness of a doctor’s employment contract.

A successful contract review requires the feedback of both a lawyer and a financial advisor who specializes in physician employment contracts. These professionals have reviewed thousands of physician contracts, and as a result, they are up-to-date on all industry standards relating to nuances like bonus structure, tail coverage, call hours, non-compete clauses and more. As a physician, your contract is worth millions of dollars, and it can have a tremendous impact on the quality and course of your professional life. With your earning ability and livelihood on the line, it takes industry-specific expertise to conduct a thorough, effective contract review.

 

How long will contract review take?

We understand that many employers offer a limited window of time to review and respond to an employment offer, and the contract review process is designed to accommodate a quick turnaround. While the exact review period will vary depending on the review package you select, most contracts are reviewed within 2-3 business days. For clients who need an even faster turnaround, we can often provide feedback as soon as 24 hours after you first send us your employment offer.

 

Will you negotiate my contract for me?

Yes. If you would like one of the attorneys from our team to negotiate for you, he or she can engage directly with your prospective employer at no additional charge.

Interested in a professional contract review? Still have more questions? Contact one of our advisors to learn more about our contract review services.

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