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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Page 41 of 103

urgent care facility. The employee worked at that location at times but was not comfortable perform- ing the kind of care the location required. In addi- tion, the hours at that location were extended to provide more coverage. "His duties had changed, the hours had changed," Laurence says. But because his contract had been negotiated for specifc duties and specifc hours, he was eventually excused from practicing at that location. In the second case, seven physicians out of eight who were joining a practice had worked with attor- neys, including Laurence, to help negotiate their contracts. Duties, hours, call and location were all heavily negotiated—a good thing, it turns out. "The employer opened a location that was a 45-minute drive from where the business was located," she says. The physicians did not want to fll in at that offce, so for seven of the physicians, that specifc location was negotiated out of the contract. "The eighth physician decided not to hire an attor- ney, and he was the only one who was required to make the 45-minute drive," she says. "Always make these terms as specifc as possible," says Manko. If left to broad defnitions, employers will defne them on their terms, and you'll either need to go along or decide to leave the job. 6. Define termination with cause. If a contract includes a clause that an employee can be terminated without cause, there isn't much that can be negotiated. But when it comes to contracts that include a termination-with-cause statement, Manko has a couple of concerns. "I want to know how objective the employer will be when it comes to terminating an employee, and I also want to know—if there is cause—if there will be some latitude in fxing the problem before termination," he says. Laurence says if the employer insists on a termination-without-cause section, she negotiates a contract that locks her client in place for a year. "There is no termination without cause for the frst year," she says. "If a family has gone to the trouble of relocating, then is fred without cause on the frst day, where does that leave the physician?" she asks. 4. K now the restrictive covenants. As Whipple learned, restrictive covenants can be deal-breakers in a contract, so they are a provi- sion you'll want to pay close attention to. Don't think that all restrictive covenants aren't enforceable in a court of law. In some states, that's true. In California, for example, they're illegal. In many other states, however, restric- tive covenants (or non- compete clauses) are enforceable, and suits may be brought against you if you break them. Of course, if you don't intend to stay in the area when you leave the employer, restric- tive covenants won't be an important issue for you. But if you intend to stay and practice in the same location, they become a concern. "Try to negotiate those out if possible," says Kratz. If you can't, then the area the contract defnes as "non- compete" should be reasonable. Although a 5—or, in Whipple's case, a 10-mile radius—can be a big area, it's considered reasonable in most contracts. 5. Specify duties and call schedule. All the duties in your contract should fall within your scope of practice, and everything should be spelled out specifcally—from what your duties will be to the hours you'll keep, the call schedule you'll be expected to work, and even the offce location(s) where you'll practice, says Laurence. She gives two examples of why that's important. In the frst, Laurence had a client working under a pediatric-specifc contract when the employers suddenly changed one of their offce locations to an 42 | FALL 2014 Continued on page 44 Before you sign... Continued from page 40

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