PracticeLink Magazine

FALL 2018

The career development quarterly for physicians of all specialties, PracticeLink Magazine provides readers with feature articles, compensation stats, helpful job search tips—as well as recruitment ads from organizations across the U.S.

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58 F A ll 2018 Practice l features "What's offered varies with the type of practice; hospitals and academia might offer more perks, while private practice is more like a small business," says Afshin Khaiser, M.D., an internal medicine physician based in Illinois. Though it's paramount to read the document from start to finish, don't worry if you feel at least somewhat confused. Deciphering it can be tricky, yet it's a valuable learning experience. Here are some tips and insight into some of the sections. Seek a resource After years in academia, you probably don't shy away from heavy reading. But this lengthy, legalese-rich document is seldom completely understood by a lay reader. Most physicians — at least early in their careers — consult with a lawyer experienced in physician employment for guidance and reassurance before they sign. Early in her career, Sylv ie Stacy, M . D., a p r e v e n t i v e m e d i c i n e physician in Birmingham, Alabama, sought a lawyer to review her contract before she accepted a position as a medical director, which involved both clinical and administrative work. "At the time, I had a minimal understanding of all the important factors and the meaning of the various clauses," she says, adding that the lawyer did suggest some changes "…to protect me if something went wrong, or if I had a disagreement with my employer down the road." Stacy went on to have a positive employment experience — but felt that the legal consultation was both reassuring and educational. "Since then, I've done a lot of independent contracting work, with numerous contracts to review. I have felt comfortable doing the review and negotiation myself," she says. Some parts are simple Not every aspect of your employment contract is cryptic or controversial; some just lay out the boundaries of your contract. Every contract has a defined time period, beginning with a start date and ending with some type of contract termination date. Choosing a start date may seem like a no- brainer, but ref lect upon the date before agreeing; once you start working, free time might be at a premium. If you'll be relocating, remember to build in time to get yourself set up. Or, if you've been going full speed ahead since medical school, consider slipping in a few days for some R & R . Your contract will also state how long it remains valid; it may expire after one year, automatically renew on its anniversary date, or remain effective indefinitely. Make note of this date, as it's easily forgotten as the years roll by. Other areas to look for: the type of relationship you are entering into (employee or independent contractor); whether you are full time or part time; and the name and location of your employer. Your primary employment address should be defined, along with any expectations regarding traveling between offices, if applicable. Ease the burden of moving It's great when your new employer offers to assist with your relocation expenses when a move is required. This is more common with larger establishments and hospitals. Covered expenses could range from only the initial expense to transport yourself and your belongings to something more inclusive of the price to get settled: hotels, meals, and public or rental transportation. "There's sometimes a maximum dollar amount toward your cost of relocating. Sometimes they'll help with other things, like a loan to help buy a house," says Keith j . Chamberlin, M.D., medical director of PeriOperative Services at Marin General Changes or adjustments made before you sign can have lasting benefits for you and your family, improve your finances and protect your professional future.

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