What to Expect for Your First Physician Contract Review
Is the cost of a physician contract review worth it? Do I have enough time? Who does the review and what are they looking for? We have the answers to all your first-time contract review questions.
When physicians apply for their first attending positions, they often come to an unsettling realization. Despite years of medical training and education, they have not been adequately prepared for the negotiation and hiring process. After all, how can a new doctor be expected to know the nuances of termination clause standards or the regional norms for non-compete clauses within their specialty?
The contract review process is designed to help physicians understand, and if necessary, negotiate an employment offer by offering deep professional insights about industry standards for your specific position. Our Physicians Thrive contract review team has compiled a rundown of everything you need to know before your first contract review:
Your review will consist of feedback from a physician-specific lawyer and financial advisor.
At Physicians Thrive, your contract review process begins when you upload or send an electronic version of your employment offer to the contract review team. Once your contract has been reviewed, you will have a meeting with a physician-specific financial advisor. The advisor will review all financial components of the contract to ensure that you understand the compensation structure. This process will help you evaluate the competitiveness of the salary as well as any potential bonuses.
After speaking with the advisor, you will have a second meeting with one of our specialized attorneys. In addition to providing a thorough written report, the attorney will walk you through the critical legal components of the contract (non-compete clauses, termination clauses, tail insurance, etc) and identify any potential red flags.
Depending on how you proceed, you may also have follow-up calls/meetings with the lawyer and financial advisor to review counter-offers. Throughout the process, these professionals can offer insight into industry standards, provide advice for negotiation, and answer any questions you have about the contract.
The contract review will provide a deep dive into salary benchmarks.
When a physician receives an initial employment offer, the salary is usually the very first financial factor they consider. Our contact review team has access to the most meaningful, detailed physician salary data available to help you evaluate the compensation in an offer.
To assess a salary offer, you have to understand how it stacks up to industry averages. While a basic online search can give you a rough estimate of salary ranges for different regions and specialties, these figures are typically too general to be very useful. Our team uses a premium database of physician salary benchmarks with detailed insights about compensation averages nationwide based on factors such as subspeciality, practice type, productivity level, and experience. This data, which would otherwise cost a physician thousands of dollars to access, helps our clients gain a deeper understanding of a salary offer as well as other financial components of a contract.
The process is efficient and thorough.
Once a prospective employer offers a physician an initial contract, the physician typically has two weeks to respond to the offer. The exact length of the review process will vary depending on subsequent negotiations or revisions, but usually the initial offer can be reviewed within 2-3 days. Even in a time crunch, the entire review process is quick enough to allow physicians to respond promptly to an employment offer.
You may be able to negotiate for more than you think.
Many young physicians mistakenly believe that they should not try to negotiate their contracts. Often they fear that negotiation could jeopardize an offer entirely. Here is the final word from our contract review team: it is completely appropriate to ask for changes to a contract, especially when your requests are informed, professional, and reasonable.
Some employers are highly amenable to negotiations, while others may not budge. However, even employers that say they will not negotiate, often respond favorably to reasonable requests. In the past decade, after reviewing thousands of physician contracts, we have found it is virtually unheard of for an employer to revoke an offer because a physician asks for modifications to the terms.
If an employer is not willing to negotiate the salary, you may find that they are more flexible in other areas of the contract. If there is no room for negotiation on compensation, ask if they are willing to offer more PTO or increased allowance for continuing education instead. You may be able to request adjustments to call hours, bonus structure, vacation time, tail coverage and more. Your contract review team can offer advice about how to conduct a professional, amicable negotiation.
The cost of the review is affordable and seriously worth it.
Our contract review services are intended to be affordable for all physicians, even young doctors on a tight budget. While some firms charge an hourly rate of $250-350 throughout the review process, this can quickly put your total costs at over $1,500. Moreover, these steep hourly rates can actually decentivize physicians from following up with negotiation questions or counter-offers.
That’s why Physicians Thrive offers flat-fee packages for physicians that are all well below $1,000. With multiple offerings available, you can select a package that best suits your needs. All of our contract reviews are designed to ensure the transparency and competitiveness of physician employment contracts. By helping you secure a more favorable offer, a professional contract review can help you earn up to six figures or more over the course of a contract term.
To learn more about contract review services, request to talk with one of our advisors today.