Much of my practice focuses on physicians’ and physician groups’ business and contracting needs, including employment contracts specifying physician duties and responsibilities. We are going to look at some key provisions within your employment contract, specifically those on physician duties and responsibilities.
Physician duties and responsibilities are identified within your employment contract in provisions that may seem innocuous and unimportant. In reality they are vital. The provisions set forth in great detail the physician duties and responsibilities to the employer, whether that employer is a physician group, hospital or other entity.
Read carefully to determine expectations: Do you have an hourly expectation? Do you have a certain number of days provision? How often are you expected to participate in Call coverage? Is Call equally divided among the number of physicians, or do you as a newer physician carry a heavier burden? You should know this information before entering the contract. Make sure that you are comfortable with your defined duties and responsibilities as a physician.
You also need to examine what, if anything, you can do outside of your employment arrangement. Many contracts have provisions that set forth physician duties and responsibilities in this regard. Often they specify that you are not to provide any medically inclusive services. For instance, if you are thinking about teaching, or providing locum tenens coverage, you need to make sure that you are able to do so under your contract.
A contract may provide that if you serve as an expert witness, or assume teaching responsibilities, or provide locum tenens coverage, any compensation for those services will go to your employer rather than to you. If you want to make sure that this does not occur, be sure that the contract language provides that the stipend or compensation will actually be coming to you.