Physician job contracts are not set in stone; they are living documents that should evolve with and help you have a more secure and fulfilling career. Periodically reviewing and updating your employment agreement is crucial to ensure it continues to serve your professional and personal needs. So, here’s when and how to update a physician contract:
When to update a physician contract
The ideal time to review and potentially negotiate any changes to your employment contract is when it is up for renewal. It’s also an opportune time to address any concerns or areas where you believe the agreement could be improved.
Change in job responsibilities
Whether you’ve taken on additional leadership roles or acquired new skills, your contract should accurately reflect your contributions to the organization. When those contributions change, ask that your contract does, too.
Changes in compensation structures, including salary, bonuses or benefits may necessitate an update in your agreement. This includes any changes in the organization’s policies or market conditions that affect your specialty.
As you reach the expiration date of your contract, it’s advisable to evaluate whether your current terms and conditions align with your career goals and aspirations. Consider renegotiating if necessary.
Practice ownership or partnership
If you transition from an employed position to practice ownership or partnership, you’ll need a new agreement that reflects your new role and responsibilities.
How to update a physician contract
Consult legal counsel
Consult with an experienced healthcare attorney before making any changes to your contract. They can provide expert advice on contract negotiations and ensure your interests are protected.
Identify key changes
Clearly identify the specific changes you wish to make to your contract. This includes any modifications to compensation, job responsibilities, noncompete clauses or termination terms.
Initiate an open and respectful dialogue with your employer or organization’s HR department to explain your reasons for seeking changes and be prepared and willing to provide justification for your requests.
Keep in mind contract negotiation is a collaborative process, and you need to be prepared to negotiate and find common ground. The result should be an agreement that is fair and mutually beneficial to both parties.
Get it in writing
Once you and your employer have agreed on the changes, ensure the updates are documented in writing. This may involve drafting an amendment to the existing contract or creating a new one entirely.
Review and sign
Once you are satisfied with the terms, carefully review the updated agreement to ensure all the changes are accurately reflected. When it’s correct, sign the updated agreement and make certain your employer does the same.
Keep copies of all versions of your contract, including the original and any subsequent amendments. These documents are essential for reference and protection in case of disputes or changes down the line.
Whether it’s negotiating better compensation, adjusting your responsibilities or accommodating changes in your career trajectory, updating your physician contract is a proactive step in managing your career and ensuring your employment terms are a good fit with your evolving needs and circumstances. By taking these simple steps, you can navigate your career with confidence and security.