Posts Tagged ‘physician agreements’

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PHYSICIAN AGREEMENTS PART 2: NON-COMPETE CLAUSE

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Physician agreements often prohibit a doctor from establishing a practice or accepting other employment within a certain area for a certain period of time following termination of employment.  Additionally, there may also be restrictions against recruiting the employer’s staff members.  These types of restrictions are sometimes referred to as “covenants not to compete” or “non-compete clauses”.  These types of covenants will be enforced only to the extent that enforcement is necessary to afford reasonable protection to an employer’s legitimate interests (like patient lists, trade secrets and confidential information).  A covenant must be reasonable in time and in geographic area.  (In some states, geographic covenants are illegal.)

For example, an agreement providing that after termination, a doctor may not practice within 50 miles of the employer for 6 months may be deemed reasonable by a court.  However, an agreement that states a doctor may not practice within 1000 miles of the employer for 10 years may be ruled to be unreasonable and therefore unenforceable.

For more general information on non-compete clauses, go here.

Although not related to Physician Agreements, non-compete clauses recently made the news when Conan O’Brien left NBC.

 

PHYSICIAN AGREEMENTS

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

In the context of health care compliance, attorneys are often hired to assist with Physician Agreements.  Physician Agreements are basically employment contracts between an organization and the newly-employed physician.

Fundamentals of contract law, labor law, Stark law, anti-kickback law, and arbitration issues can arise out of a poorly drafted Physician Agreement.  Here are some common problem areas (though not an exhaustive list) that both the organization and the physician will want clearly set forth in the Physician Agreement:

  • Who are the parties?
  • What is the term of the contract? (Start date, termination date)
  • What are the physician’s job duties? (Schedule, job description)
  • What are the employer’s responsibilities?
  • How will the physician be compensated?
  • Benefits? (Time off, vacation)
  • Who pays for CME?
  • Who pays for Malpractice insurance and “tail coverage”?
  • Is there a Non-Compete, Non-Solicitation or Confidentiality Agreement?
  • Is outside employment permitted?
  • How can the Agreement be terminated?
  • Will the physician have continuing access to records?
  • Who controls the physician’s research and writing results?
  • Recruitment incentives (Moving allowances, etc.)
  • How will disputes be resolved, and who will pay the costs and attorney’s fees?
  • Miscellaneous boilerplate provisions

When dealing with Physician Agreements, newly-hired physicians should seek legal advice to be sure that a particular contract complies with the law and is in their best interests.

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