Put it in writing

Published: 2011-06-30 12:00:43
Author: Marc H. Sencer | ChiroEco | June 2011

In an integrated practice there may be several healthcare providers. These may include MDs, DCs, PTs, NPs, and PAs. Each one requires an employment contract. The contracts are similar enough that the following discussion applies to all such providers.

The employment agreement is your best protection in the event of a dispute with an employee, and it is not optional. It must be written by a healthcare attorney, and you should not try to save time or money by taking shortcuts.

Don’t try to use a contract you use for non-professional employees. Do not accept an employee’s offer to have his or her lawyer provide the contract, and be sure to use an attorney who understands healthcare law.

Even though the contract will be written by your attorney, you should still have a solid understanding of its contents and how it protects you.

The key components

The introductory part of the contract usually states the parties to the contract, the term and options for renewal, a description of the parties, and the purpose of the agreement.

For example: “Employer is an integrated group practice wishing to hire a medical physician to provide medical services to its patients. Employee is a duly licensed physician desiring to perform medical services for patients of employer.”

The agreement will then describe in more detail the duties and obligations of both parties. These normally include requirements for employment such as full and unrestricted licensure, certification to perform specific procedures, etc. In this section, the employer typically makes certain assurances such as stating that the practice is in compliance with all federal, state, and local statutes and ordinances, and that it will continue to be run in a lawful manner.

For specific information about hours, salary, and benefits, the contract may refer to an addendum that includes these as a separate page.

There is usually a section stating that medical records are the property of the practice, with a provision that they will be made available to the provider if  needed for defense of a board or malpractice action, or for certain aspects of patient care. This is important because it limits the employee’s access to your patients’ files.

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