PracticeLink Magazine

FALL 2014

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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a year or two. Laurence says she encourages two-year contracts when possible. "If a physician relocates with a family, but is terminated a few months later, you at least want the employee to make the money they were guaranteed that frst year," she says. Susan Kratz, JD, a health attorney with the Minne- sota law firm Nilan Johnson Lewis, says a two-year contract also allows a new physician to ramp up busi- ness before the guaranteed income goes away. "In the third year, most salaries are productivity-based," she says. There are also other compensation terms you can negotiate. "You can negotiate the potential to become a partner," says Matthew Kinley, JD, with the California law frm Tredway Lumsdaine & Doyle. "You may also want to look at payment for referrals, and at relocation expense," he says. If the base salary you want is lower than you'd like, tell them you're willing to accept it if you can receive a signing bonus, suggests Kratz. Or negotiate a severance package for when you leave, says Manko. "Just remember when you negotiate bonuses that you don't run afoul of anti-kickback statutes," says Kinley. An attorney can advise if you're about to step over that line. 3. Make sure you have enough malpractice insurance. Though most employers provide physicians some form of professional liability coverage while they're employed, the Extended Reporting Period or "tail"—those suits that may be brought against you after you leave the employer—is usually a negotiated beneft. "Tail coverage will be more important for some specialties," says Saint. "OB/Gyns, for example, will want tail coverage. But even if it's not as important for you, it's a topic you should bring up." "What you need to determine here is, who pays for the tail?" says Kinley. Optimally, if you've negotiated well, your employer will pay for it. However, if you've left the job of your own accord, you may be the one who picks up the tab. It pays to check before you sign the contract. 40 | PracticeLink.com FALL 2014 Continued on page 42 1. K now your worth. "You see lots of different arrangements with regard to compensation," says Jodi Laurence, a health care law attorney with the Florida Health Law Center. "It's an important part of a contract, but maybe not the most important part," she says. Most salaries today are built on a productivity formula, but if you're just starting out, you're likely to be given a base salary until you and your prac- tice become more established. You may have a bit of room to negotiate your base pay, but usually not much. Generally, the only time an employer may heed your request for a higher salary is if your specialty is in high demand or you can show their offer is below fair market value. Otherwise, you don't have the kind of leverage you need to negoti- ate higher pay. It makes sense, then, for you to know what your fair market value is. "The MGMA (Medical Group Management Association) publishes salary data by region; that's one place to look," says David Manko, JD, a health law attorney with the New York law frm Rivkin Radler. "Knowing your market before your interview is invaluable, as it allows you to prove your worth to your prospective employer," Whipple says. Sanjay Saint, M.D., George Dock Professor of Internal Medicine at University of Michigan Medical School, often mentors new physicians on contracts and contract negotiations. He says that unless your specialty is in high demand, you're unlikely to receive a much higher salary than the one presented to you initially. But, he adds: "You can look at how long the salary is protected and what the historical trend has been in terms of raises. And often, there is a little bit of wiggle room for the starting salary." 2. K now where to negotiate. The length of the contract is one point to consider in contract negotiations. The majority of frst-time contracts for new physicians will be for Before you sign... Continued from previous page

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