Today 25 percent of physicians quit within the first three years of working in a practice. The American Medical Association detailed at its annual meeting how physicians can protect their interests in contract negotiations.
Here are five key points on contracts:
1. Contracts are generally terminated in two ways: termination without cause or termination for cause.
2. When a physician is terminated, that individual still has an obligation to the hospital to complete health records and billings statements. Physicians may also have to repay vacation days or other vested benefits.
3. Restrictive covenants, often impacting when and where a physician can practice, are common in physician contracts. When dealing with restrictive covenants, the AMA recommended speaking with a lawyer about tying the covenants to the contract's termination provisions.
4. If a physician cannot reach an agreement upon the termination of the contract, options include courtroom litigation, binding arbitrations and mediation.
5. The AMA provides resources to help physicians understand employment contracts and detailed guidance on the different practice arrangements available to physicians.