Physician Employment Contracts

Physician Employment Agreement Attorneys In Texas

Houston Attorneys For Reviewing & Negotiating Physician Contracts

Whether you’re considering offers at the end of residency, need to hire a doctor for your new medical practice or existing group, or face any matter involving the employment of a physician in Texas, the contracts you execute define the future of employment relationships, and have major implications for practitioners and practices alike.

At Hendershot Cowart P.C., our physician contract attorneys have extensive experience in matters of medical contracts and health and medical law. We have been reviewing and negotiating physician employment agreements since 1987, and regularly counsel physicians, hospitals, and practice managers as they consider employment offers or devise agreements critical to their practice.

Our attorneys review physician employment contracts and advise you against pitfalls that could have unintended consequences. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to speak with a physician contract attorney.

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Reviewing & Negotiating Physician Employment Contracts

Once presented with your employment agreement, the healthcare lawyers at Hendershot Cowart can step in to quickly review the contract, redline suggested revisions, provide a competitive analysis of your compensation, and negotiate on your behalf, as requested.

While compensation is often a top priority, our attorneys also look to eliminate other pitfalls, such as vague language (i.e., “…at the practice’s discretion”), bonus thresholds that are not clearly defined, and overly restrictive non-compete agreements. We can also help ensure that verbal agreements made during the recruitment process are clearly reflected in writing.

The health law attorneys at Hendershot Cowart P.C. generally consider these questions when reviewing or negotiating an employment agreement on your behalf:

  • What are the physician’s duties and responsibilities? How many hours is the physician expected to work? How many days per week? How many hours/shifts on call?
  • Are the employer’s duties and obligations recorded in the agreement? Employer obligations, such as maintaining sufficient staff and compliant billing practices, can impact your productivity and compensation.
  • What is the base salary? How is it calculated? How is bonus or productivity compensation calculated? What happens if the physician misses productivity targets? Are base compensation and bonuses calculated in compliance with regulatory laws?
  • For collections-based incentives, are the productivity formula, amounts, and methodology clearly defined? Does the physician have access to books and records if compensation is based on net collection rate?
  • For compensation based on measurement, how are work units generated?
  • Will the scheduling of patients be equitable?
  • What is included in the benefits package (health, vision, dental, life, retirement, continuing medical education, etc.)? When do benefits commence? How much vacation time is offered?
  • What type of professional liability insurance is offered? Claims-made or occurrence? If tail insurance is necessary, who covers it if the employment contract is terminated?
  • Is there a non-compete or non-solicitation provision? What are the restrictions? Is there a buy-out provision? Does it comply with Texas law?
  • What is the term of the employment agreement? Does it automatically renew?
  • What is cause for termination? Can the physician be terminated without cause? Will the physician get notice and an opportunity to cure?
  • Who owns intellectual property a physician may develop while employed?
  • Does the physician need consent to “moonlight”? Will the physician be expected to share the revenue from outside activities?
  • Is there an indemnification clause? Is there mutual indemnification? Be mindful of any provision that broadly requires you to indemnify or hold harmless your employer under any circumstances.
  • Do you need a buy-in clause? Some medical groups may choose to offer physicians the opportunity to buy into the group, or become a partner, after a period of time or certain benchmarks have been met. These types of agreements can be drafted separately from initial employment agreements.

Knowing Your Worth in the Physician Job Market

How do you determine what is fair and reasonable compensation within your market?

At Hendershot Cowart, we can conduct a compensation analysis and advise if your offer falls within the low, mid, or high range. This knowledge can put you in the best possible position to negotiate a fair and competitive compensation package.

Factors we consider when analyzing your compensation offer include:

  • Academic or private practice;
  • Geographic region;
  • Your years in practice; and
  • Single specialty group practice or multi-specialty group practice.

We also have a substantial database that will allow us to assist you with respect to wRVU calculations and comparisons.

A Note About Physician Non-Compete Agreements in Texas:

A physician non-compete agreement, or a restrictive covenant clause, protects both individual practitioners and provider organizations. Non-competes provide practices and hospitals with the ability to invest in new physicians and offer practitioners legal protections to continue in their field when an employment relationship ends.

Enforceable physician non-competes in Texas must meet requirements under the state’s Business Commerce Code, which generally obligate that the agreement is:

  • "Ancillary to or part of an otherwise enforceable agreement" entered into at the same time (such as an employment agreement); and
  • Only contains limitations on the scope of work, duration, and geographic area that are "reasonable" and do not "impose a greater restraint than is necessary to protect the goodwill or other business interest" of the employer.

Specific protections for physicians and patients create additional requirements, including:

  • Permission for physicians to treat patients with acute illness as long as needed following termination of the employment relationship;
  • Terms that provide for the physician’s ability to buy-out the non-compete agreement; and
  • Delivery of patient records in the format in which they have been maintained.

Consult a Texas Medical Contract Attorney Before You Sign

For similar reasons a surgeon wouldn’t operate on themselves, physicians and providers should be wary of reviewing or drafting their own employment agreements without the help of knowledgeable and experienced health law attorneys. At Hendershot Cowart P.C., we can identify and resolve issues before they impact your career or practice. We negotiate, draft, and review all aspects of physician employment agreements in accordance with state and federal laws, and with our client’s unique circumstances in mind.

Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online to speak with a Texas healthcare attorney about a physician employee agreement review, compensation analysis, or our negotiation services.

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