Attorneys Advocating For Illinois Healthcare Practitioners And Providers

My contract was not first reviewed by an attorney. Now what?

On Behalf of | Apr 21, 2022 | Healthcare Law

Employment contracts are created in order to identify and address potential problems in an employment relationship before they arise. While employment contracts can be important in any industry, they are especially critical for physicians. When a new position involves moving to a new location and uprooting lives and families, a careful review of the employment contract is wise.

Physicians are hired to fill a void and bring a new perspective to their new employer. Whether that new employer is a hospital, physician group, educational institution, health system or more, the prospect of an exciting new opportunity can cause some to overlook the importance of the terms of the employment contract. Here are some things to consider both before and after signing.

Ten points to consider prior to accepting an employment offer

It might seem discouraging to consider what might go wrong before you even get started with your new role. However, proactively reviewing the terms of your employment contract with an attorney can help identify how to maximize the employment relationship for both you and your employer. Consider the following ten items:

  1. A termination provision only allowing for termination if it occurs at the end of the contract’s term. An exception to this would be if the termination is “for cause” – and this should be clearly defined.
  2. A severance package if the employer terminates the contract.
  3. Preserving the bonus (if any) that might be paid if the employment relationship had continued.
  4. A clear outline of post-termination productivity pay, including both how and when this will be paid out.
  5. Paying tail insurance, if professional liability coverage is on a claims-made policy.
  6. Retaining medical staff membership.
  7. A non-disparagement agreement that extends beyond the contract’s termination.
  8. If negotiated, a true option and clear path to becoming a partner.
  9. Forgiveness of signing, as well as other incentives, if the relationship is terminated by the employer without cause or by the physician with cause.
  10. If the contract is terminated prematurely (either without cause by the employer or for cause by the physician), the release of non-compete provisions.

What if an attorney doesn’t review before you sign?

Reviewing your employment contract with an attorney prior to signing is ideal. However, this might not always happen. If you have questions about the terms of your existing contract or a dispute has arisen between you and your employer, an experienced health care attorney can help you understand your options.