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Are contract reviews worth it?

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  • the man
    replied
    YES

    Contracts for physician's are well worth it.  I know of a few colleagues that are backed up in a corner because of malignant contracts.  Everyone knows physicians are poor business people and trust everyone.  The hospital system and private practices are notorious for extending ill contracts.  There are even some clauses that require you to pay back your entire first year salary if you breach/terminate.  I don't know about you, but paying back 350K after taxes will ruin my life.   All physicians should have a contract review by a professional.  Granted, there are good ones, cheap ones, and bare minimum ones...

    http://www.ContractReviewHQ.com

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  • redy
    replied
    Final year of fellowship here and I have signed with somebody already. I had my contract reviewed for 500$ by a more local law firm. It was a contract on the simpler side and the changes I suggested were nothing too major and easily enough accepted by my employer. Definitely thought it was useful. And in any case its not as if you have to make all the changes they suggest. If nothing at least they can help you understand your contract better and might point out minor useful things if not major changes. I did it for my peace of mind too if in the future something came up, that I at least did some due dilligence.

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  • westcoaster
    replied
    Spent 300/hr with a local contracts lawyer. Felt like he took an extra hour to up charge me and in the end made very little meaningful changes. I was told ahead of time that Reviewing wouldn't earn me more.
    In the future I would probably have it reviewed for understanding but not for the price paid.

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  • Josh0731
    replied
    I can vouch for the Contract Diagnostics people - I used them during my last job search and with the advice and data I was given I talked up my contract $30k a year.  So I think the fee was worth it.

    Even with a cleanly-worded contract there can be points of emphasis for your particular situation or specialty.  Signing one of these contracts is one of the biggest commitments you will make, and the fees are really not that much for a high-income professional, so I would strongly recommend the peace of mind and thoroughness of having someone look at it for you.

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  • EMDoc
    replied
    I used Physician Advisors to review my contract and found it worthwhile.  Honestly as a resident, I felt $500 was a fair price for their service.

    In the end, they were able to negotiate the terms of the signing bonus in my favor.  I had already tried to do so unsuccessfully.

    They also provided a good breakdown of how my salary and other benefits compared to nationwide averages for physicians in my specialty.

    They answered specific concerns for what the terms are for terminating the contract or if I could be forced to work overtime - things I had been warned to be clear about by my mentors.

    Lastly, they pointed out potential concerns regarding malpractice coverage that was provided by the employer.

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  • VagabondMD
    replied
    I have tendered offered to numerous physicians for our private practice group. We have all signed the same contract and while the terms (starting salary, length of partnership track) might be different at different times and for different circumstances, the contract language is the same. We are in a negotiation right now in which the person we have offered the position has requested numerous changes, from contract language to the restructuring of our retirement plan, and that was BEFORE a lawyer reviewed it. He might have negotiated himself out of the job.

    That said, I believe that the contracts should be reviewed by an expert, someone who will advocate for you, at least to explain things to you so that you can understand the terms as best you can. Relying on the employer to explain it is fraught with potential problems and conflicts of interest. Spend a couple hundred bucks; it's worth it.

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  • High Fiber
    replied
    I completed fellowship within the last couple years and had my contract reviewed by contract diagnostics.  I thought the service was worth the money, if only to provide peace of mind.  They made a few suggestions, but really reinforced that it was a strong contract.  They also do a good job going through each section of the contract and simplifying the language for us less versed.  While no major changes were made to my contract before signing, I still feel it was worth the relatively small fee.

    I also have some experience with the other company mentioned, but that was more on the financial advisement/insurance services.  They were introduced to us through our medical school and provided good service in getting a disability policy set up.  I felt that their other services didn't fit my needs or my philosophy so I have not continued that relationship.

     

     

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  • Ronason
    replied
    I signed up to reply to your question. While I undoubtedly believe you should have your contract reviewed by an attorney, physician advisors is not a company I'd recommend. I used them coming out of residency. They offer discount services and the quality is discounted too. In the end, I went along with the advice of the attorney based in Nebraska who "knew" my state market. I ended up getting caught in a noncompete nightmare with a boss who also ended up taking all of my on call money. A better lawyer would have guided me more soundly. Cost me a lot of time and money to extricate myself out of a situation that could have been avoided altogether. Way more money than I paid for the crap advice.

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  • ContractDiagnostics
    replied
    We (obviously!) think spending a few hundred bucks on understanding what the contracts say is worth it.  While we could type for days on horror stories about physicians that didn't know what their contract said because they 'just signed it' we won't - lets just say with the potential money on the table to earn that investing a little (our packages start at only $200) to understand it (even if you can't negotiate it) would be worth it...contractdiagnostics.com if we can help at all...

    Leave a comment:


  • jfoxcpacfp
    replied
    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this, but you might consider asking your CPA or CFP to review with another set of eyes. For example, contract reviews are included in the engagement and I almost always find some points for discussion. Not saying to cut out the attorney, but your financial professional usually brings a different perspective. We review and assist with drafts of Last Wills and Testaments and trusts, so it's not that different. Again, this is not a legal service but from a tax and business view that the attorney may lack. The client typically gives permission for the financial pro to discuss with the attorney.

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  • Zaphod
    replied
    Why would it matter if thats "what everyone signed"? If they all jump off a bridge....Besides, even though they may all believe that, it is highly unlikely to be true as even small medical groups will continue to learn and shape things in their favor from prior experience. Most new doctors are happy and simply very naive about the private practice world and think it will be similar to academics, it isnt.

    Besides, its not as if you have to come back with a litany of demands, you are just making sure there arent any clauses that put you at a significant disadvantage. If there is and the practice is offended by you doing your due diligence, then there are other fish in the sea. A contract can hurt you badly, anyone telling you not to at least review it is not taking the safest approach.

    Finally, if the contract didnt matter, they wouldnt make you sign it in the first place.

    Leave a comment:


  • LBKCLU
    replied
    Contracts are drafted by attorneys and should be reviewed by attorneys. Attorneys are wordsmiths and while a word or two what might not mean much to you, they can mean an awful lot to an attorney.

    Attorneys are trained to see things that you as a physician will not. It is just that simple. They will also help you understand not only what you are getting into but the ramifications in the event you need to get out - either voluntary or not.

    If you view the attorney you hired as an expense and not an asset, you hired the wrong attorney.

     

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  • 02Sats
    replied
    Yes, I believe they are.  I am a fellow joining a private practice group as well.  It is just nice to have someone explain things in simple terms that you will be able to understand, and if there are any red flags.  I went with Contract Diagnostics, as he was recommended on this site.  I dealt directly with Jon Appino.  He was great.  I would highly recommend them. They look over 100's of contracts, and can tell if a contract is reasonable or not.

     

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  • childay
    replied
    Probably depends on the contract.  Some are fairly straightforward but others maybe not.  I suspect the cost isn't all that high for a potentially very important result.  If you don't understand your contract, then yes obviously get it reviewed..

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  • gasjames
    replied
    If you are joining an AMC I would highly suggest getting it reviewed by an attorney.  I would also encourage you to ask for other contracts that those who came before you signed.  I have personally experienced signing a contract after being told by the medical director that "its the exact same contract everyone signs" only to find out after signing the contract with a strict non-compete clause that he was lying.

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