PracticeLink Magazine

FALL 2017

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 49 of 95

features 50 FALL 2017 Understand the business side Understanding how much it costs to recruit and hire you, how much revenue you'll be generating for the organization, and what you can do to increase that revenue can aid your negotiations with for-profit organizations. A note about academic contracts It is often possible to negotiate an agreement that meets your needs for compensation and benefits and helps you achieve your long- term career goals. The same is true within an academic setting, though the process is different because the role you are applying for is not solely revenue-generating. You're there to teach and conduct research that elevates the reputation of the hospital or university, in addition to contributing to creating a new income stream for the organization. For that reason, there are fewer elements of the contract that can be modified, less that can be negotiated. But the differences in process are evident from the start. To begin with, the contract itself is typically issued by the chairman of the department in which you'll be working, rather than a recruiter. It should outline your responsibilities and the associated compensation, says Virginia R. Litle, M.D., FACS, professor of surgery and chief, division of thoracic surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine. Most initial contracts are for a three-year term and are subsequently renewed on an annual basis. When applying for your first job in academic medicine, there is not much room to negotiate, says Litle. There are guidelines for what assistant professor positions pay, based on geographic location. There is little room for variation, she says. On the research side, however, it may be possible to request research support on top of your salary. Called "start-up money," this research funding is a set amount granted for a set period of time, such as $25,000 or $50,000 for three years. Potential new hires can ask for more research funding or for a different length of time, though such funding typically aligns with a Do you need an attorney? Unless an attorney is an experienced employment lawyer, odds are good that their involvement in negotiations will drag out the process. Negotiations can take anywhere from two days to a month, says Steven Jacobs, physician recruiter with WellSpan Health, depending on an attorney's familiarity with health care employment contracts. Lawyers who do not specialize in employment law will frequently push back on terms that can't be changed, such as taking call. That said, an employment attorney can be helpful in explaining contract language and clarifying what cer tain terms mean for you and your career long-term. The contract itself should be a verification of what's been agreed to during the normal verbal back-and-for th that has occurred about the terms of your employment, explains Jacobs. There shouldn't be anything surprising in it, but an attorney can review it with you to make sure nothing has been overlooked. "An attorney can provide a sense of security that a contract looks OK," says Jacobs. Use of attorneys during negotiations has increased in the past five to seven years, says Jacobs. Fifteen years ago, about 30 percent of physicians would retain an attorney to assist with their contract. Today that percentage is closer to 85 percent, he says. However, recruiters rarely deal directly with attorneys. Physicians use them more as behind-the-scenes advisers than front- line negotiators. Jacobs recommends reading the whole contract from star t to finish and asking yourself, "Does it make sense?" Then go back through with a recruiter or attorney and ask questions about any terms or requirements that are unclear to you. "Everyone wants the same outcome," says Jacobs. So "be collaborative in the process, not adversarial…. The negotiating process is not there to hurt you."

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