A New Physician Assistant's Introduction to Employment ContractsSubmitted by Parkworth Capital Management on March 30th, 2016
So graduation from your Physician Assistant program will soon be behind you and job offers from a variety of medical practices are finding ways to flood your email, phone, voicemail and physical mailbox. Congratulations!
As a recent graduate, navigating through employment contracts can feel overwhelming at such a hectic time in your life, but the terms of these documents will create the initial platform in which you build your career and financial foundation.
Let’s take a look at some important and common features of quality physician assistant employment contracts:
Terms and termination
The length of the contract should include your starting date and the duration of the initial contract. Termination provisions should be included stating “with cause” or “without cause” clarification. Termination is usually described as whether the contract can be terminated early if notice is given.
Every good contract should include an option to renew or a provision to renegotiate based on a performance evaluation. Performance criteria should be specifically spelled out, included or attached to the contract.
Employee vs Independent Contractor
It’s important for the contract to explicitly specify, and for you to know, if you are an employee or independent contractor. This will determine your employer’s responsibility for employment taxes and retirement benefits may be affected.
Services to be Provided
The specific area of medicine you will practice and your duties should be clearly defined, including working times, sites and practice duties.
Credentials and Privilege Requirements
The contract should clearly specify and explain any professional credentials that you must possess within a specified time. If you must obtain privileges at certain hospitals it should also be specified.
Terms should be clearly defined. You can be paid a salary, an hourly rate, a percentage of fees billed/collected or salary plus bonus based on productivity. The frequency of calculation (percentage of fees/productivity-based) should clearly be defined since your productivity will most likely be lower in the first year of your contract compared to future years. Know what the regional Physician Assistant compensation is in your area for your particular field.
Determine who will pay for your malpractice insurance and whether you will be listed on your supervising physician’s policy or have you own individual policy.
There can be many items that fall into this category but typical items listed are vacation, education leave, professional dues, licensure fees, books, professional journals, hospital medical staff fees, US Drug Enforcement Administration registration fees, health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance and retirement plan details.
Sick Leave and Disability
The contract should specifically state if you would be paid if you become sick or disabled and for how long these payments will be made.
If your goal is to buy into the practice eventually, the conditions of the buy-in and basic terms of purchase should be spelled out (usually in a separate letter).
This prohibits you from practicing in a given geographic area or given medical specialty after you leave a practice. This is usually listed as a defined period of time after leaving the practice, so it’s important to consider if your goal is to remain at the practice for only a short time.
As a young physician assistant, this is a time in your life that is both tremendously exciting and hectic.
There are many important decisions to be made that can affect you long-term and you’ve probably quickly realized that proper financial management and planning is more than just managing investment accounts even though that is all that most financial service firms want to do for you. That’s how Parkworth is different...
We want to help serve you as you prepare to serve others, so if you have more questions than answers, consider working with a professional who doesn’t sell products and will act in your best interest to guide you through tasks such as comparing physician assistant employment contracts.