Physician Contract Negotiations: How to Maximize Your Position?

November 4, 2022

Most physicians get too excited when they get a job offer from a healthcare practice; honestly, there’s nothing wrong with it. What’s concerning is they may rush the process to secure a job for themselves, and, during this process, they may even overlook the important provisions of the physician contract.

A physician contract can either maximize their position in the industry or do the opposite. Since it’s a crucial part of the job recruitment process, you should leverage the services of a team of physician contract lawyers and contract review specialists who will professionally help you along the way.

However, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have any duties to fulfill on your behalf to reach an optimal contract. That’s why we’ll discuss everything related to physician contract negotiations in this article to ensure you’re able to maximize your position. Keep reading to learn!

Prepare Yourself Before You Start Negotiating  

Once you get a job offer, you must consider your preferences thoroughly. It’s vital to ask yourself about the factors you can’t compromise during contract negotiations. This will help you steer in the right direction with a clear mind.

Let’s say you may be looking for an increased pay rate, work-life balance, better compensation, or your schedule choice. Whatever that is, you should start creating a list of items that you prioritize so that when you actually start negotiating, you can stand your ground.

In fact, many physicians feel guilty when they think about negotiating with their potential employer. If you don’t negotiate, you may not be able to work on conditions that satisfy you or make you happy. Of course, you should also remember that they can’t fulfill every demand of yours, but both parties can surely come to an agreement on a compromise.

Prioritizing items is also a great way to put your unnecessary demands to the side to ensure you don’t come off as too “demanding” in front of your employer. This way, you will also be able to concentrate on the most important demands.

What Should You Negotiate in the Physician Contract?   

As mentioned previously, you should negotiate what’s most important to you, and this can vary from person to person. Hiring an advisor at this point will also make it easier for you to think about the terms that are non-negotiable for you. Instead of looking at the contract, they will assess your preferences and needs and will provide you with suggestions as to what you should demand.

Most physicians would simply assume this or that clause can’t be negotiated. Remember that everything is negotiable if you take a step and negotiate it until proven otherwise. You may want to negotiate on compensation, contract duration, and schedule from your future employer, but again, it differs for everyone.

How Should You Negotiate?

Negotiating with your prospective employer may seem daunting to many physicians, but if you never ask for it, you will never get it. However, here are some tips to make it easier for you to negotiate and maximize your position:

1. Make It Comfortable for Your Employer

You certainly don’t want to frustrate the employer by wasting their time. So, it’s vital for you to come prepared with all your questions and negotiation terms. This will also save time and hassle of visiting them back and forth.

You must also ask your employer if they prefer face-to-face communication or over the phone. In addition, you should judge their body language, whether they want you to cut to the chase or be less direct.

2. Be Compromising

The employer can easily tell the mindset that you have come up with. You must visit them with a positive attitude and be ready for compromise. If you are too rigid with your terms and conditions, you won’t be able to come to a positive conclusion.

It’s a two-way street. If you are compromising on multiple factors, your employer will be able to do the same and vice versa. Therefore, you must keep your cool and be understanding.    

3. Provide Reasons for Your Demands

You should know that your potential employer will most likely ask you to justify your demands, so they can make an informed decision. You definitely can’t expect them to accept your compensation worth $20,000 just because you want it. It’s simply unrealistic!

That’s why you must justify all your terms and conditions, as this will significantly help you get them accepted by your employer. Those justifications can be linked to your, let’s say, duty hours, experience, or qualification.

4. Begin Negotiations with Your Offer Letter

Before an official employment letter, you will be handed over an offer letter. Although this may not be “too official,” it still is a written contract, which means you will be bound by the law.

Instead of quickly signing the offer letter just because you don’t want to lose the job offer, you must carefully read it and immediately ask your employer to amend it to ensure the base of your negotiations is strong for a smoother physician contract process.

If you still accept the offer letter as is, you shouldn’t expect your employer to change those terms in the employment letter.

What to Look for In a Physician Contract?

To maximize your position as a physician, you should properly review the contract before signing. Read below for practical tips!

1. Don’t Rely on Verbal Agreements

Your prospective employer may have made a lot of promises verbally, but they don’t hold any value in the eyes of the law until or unless mentioned in the contract. When reviewing the contract, you must assess if everything that you agreed on has been mentioned to prevent any kind of trouble down the road.

2. Understanding Every Part of the Contract is Crucial

Of course, you can expect the physician contract to have some legal or technical jargon that may be harder for a layman to understand. However, just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean you won’t be bound by the law to adhere to them.

When reviewing the contract, you must always take assistance from an employment attorney who has extensive experience in physician contracts. They can help you explain everything in layman’s terms, so you know what you legally agree to.

3. Get Specific

You should ensure that everything that has been written in the contract is clear and specific. Otherwise, it can lead to many issues later, which may make you unsatisfied. For instance, you must ask your employer to clearly mention the key details like the frequency of calls or the number of patient hours.


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