Neurosurgeon quits before 1st day at Arkansas hospital, ordered to pay $12.8K in payroll taxes, recruitment fees


While Michael Raber, MD, was still in medical training, he committed to an employment contract with Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, Ark., that included a $48,000 signing bonus, but then decided to quit months before his scheduled start date in July 2017. Now a judge has ordered him to repay the payroll taxes on his signing bonus and recruitment expenses, in addition to paying back the bonus, according to an Arkansas Business report.


Here are five things to know:

1. Dr. Raber signed an employment agreement with Washington Regional during his fellowship at Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The contract stated his base salary would be $716,000 with additional bonuses for potential total compensation reaching $1.5 million, according to the report.

2. Prior to signing the agreement, he visited the hospital three times on Washington Regional's dime. The hospital said it paid around $9,177 in recruitment expenses, which included airfare to the hospital, hotel stays and meals.

3. In March 2017, about four months after signing the agreement, Dr. Raber notified the hospital that he would break their contract, deciding not to work at the hospital for "personal reasons."

4. Washington Regional sought compensation for the recruitment expenses, payroll taxes on Dr. Raber's $48,000 signing bonus — which totaled $3,672 — as well as $305,912, which the hospital paid for a physician staffing firm to fill the role Dr. Raber vacated. The chief U.S. District Court judge of Western district of Arkansas ruled Dr. Raber owed the hospital for the payroll taxes and recruitment expenses, totaling $12,849.

The judge did not require Dr. Raber to repay the cost of the physician staffing firm.

5. Dr. Raber paid back the signing bonus and is now working at Houston-based Baylor College of Medicine.

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