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Contract Renewal Rants

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  • Contract Renewal Rants

    I am currently employed by a large corporate healthcare system as a hospitalist.  We have, I'm guessing, 50 or more hospitalists in our group.  We're also considered part of the "inpatient institute" which employs other specialists in the hospital.  I currently have an "optional" status contract with them.  Basically it means I'm not obligated to work at all.  I can just pick up shifts when I feel like it or none at all.  But, obviously, I don't get a regular paycheck or certain benefits.

    Anyway, it's the end of the fiscal year and the end of our current 3 year contracts.  Everyone is up for renewal with a new contract.  I'm interested in going to a 0.8 FTE contract with them for work at a new hospital that is now in our system.  I know there will be a raise coming because I asked about it.  But, that's all that I know.

    What bothers me right now is that they still haven't given us a copy of the contract to review and it's almost the end of the month.  Last time we had to sign new contracts they gave us a copy at the monthly meeting on a friday before the end of the month and told us that we had to sign them and return them by monday if "we don't want an interruption in our pay."
    This year we got an email from them stating that "due to scheduling conflict" our monthly meeting has been moved from Fri Jun 23 to Thur Jun 29.  This was immediately suspicious to me of course because Thursday is one day before the end of the month...Friday Jun 30 is the last day of the month.  So I know what they are going to say at that meeting is "Here are your new contracts...You have to return it signed by tomorrow if you want to avoid an interruption in your pay"  Obviously they are trying to prevent us from getting these contracts reviewed and/or working together to collectively bargain with them.
    I doubt that anyone else in my group is paying attention to this because they are all mindless sheep.  More than likely people will start signing immediately without even reading it.  So, I know there is precious little I can do about this.  I've considered writing an anonymous letter to everyone and placing it in everyone's mailbox to open their eyes to this BS and try to get them to pay attention, but I feel like I'd just be placing myself at risk and people wouldn't listen anyway.

    Regardless of what everyone else does, I'm going to have my contract reviewed and I'm going to try to negotiate with them on several points that I've been unhappy with in our current contract.  However, I know it's not going to work because as soon as the other sheep sign their contracts we've lost all negotiating power.

    Has anyone else had this sort of issue?  Is there anything that can be done about it?  It just really makes me angry that the company is so blatantly preventing us from having a chance to negotiate the terms of the contract.  It makes me feel like they are not a trustworthy organization to work for.

  • #2
    I think you have no leverage in this situation without exploring other job opportunities. Always hard to negotiate with Megacorp hospital systems.


    • #3
      Yeah they're obviously gaming everyone.

      As said above, it sounds like you personally have no leverage right now.  Are you even scheduled for any shifts?  Would they miss you at all?

      However, just because you might not get everyone together, half a dozen or a dozen of y'all (assuming full time) could collectively get the employer to ************************ its pants.  Sure some salary would be interrupted, but work would also be interrupted.  It's a big bluff on their part.

      It's very expensive and time consuming to recruit and credential new physicians.  With enough people out, that's going to cost them tremendously in overtime or possibly lost business and revenue altogether.


      • #4
        The situation as described isnt even really legal by trying to make you feel duress about your paychecks given the time frame for renewal. Are you sure that is the case (not that they imply such but contractually) as it makes little sense? You should still be under the old contract until replaced as is pretty standard.

        While the majority get away with this type of behavior its clearly unethical and I'd venture illegal and non binding if contested. This is like literally the number one bullet point and first thing discussed with how contracts get invalidated. If they are even implicitly saying as much its easily defeated, if explicit, well then you again have the leverage.

        Of course if you do this the employment situation is pretty much over so again you should basically have another position lined up already and mentally it should be over.


        • #5


          Very analogous


          • #6
            Maybe you should attend the meeting with your lawyer.


            • #7
              We have something sort of similar going on in our hospital system right now. Last year they announced they were redoing every group's compensation, starting with primary care. This year they're on to surgical subspecialists and we are supposed to have these contracts start January 1, 2018. Problem is, no one has seen the contract yet, which is total BS.

              Realistically, if you didn't like the contract it would be too late by this point to apply for another job, interview, apply for licensure in another state, and get credentialed in time to start without a not insignificant break in your employment.

              I'm sure administration knows this and it is a way of bending us over the barrel when it comes to our new contract, which we have been assured will be "higher compensation, not lower." Call me skeptical.


              • #8
                You could always try to negotiate in some notice next time


                • #9

                  You could always try to negotiate in some notice next time ????
                  Click to expand...

                  The law already requires a degree of notice, but its typically pretty short like a week or so, and each state will be different.


                  • #10
                    This has happened to me in the past.  Isn't there a legal term similar to the carryover clause that can be used during these times?

                    I once negotiated to walk away from the job if they didn't address something in time (admin was also not giving me adequate time to evaluate contract) and their response was that we can implement the carryover clause until we settle the item.  Basically, carryover clause was something like all terms on current contract stays the same and can be continue while renegotiation was happening.   Can this be applied to the current situation?

                    I have no idea if this is legally appropriate, I am not a lawyer. But, maybe worth looking into.  This might buy some time for all involved.


                    • #11

                      Has anyone else had this sort of issue?

                      Is there anything that can be done about it?

                      It makes me feel like they are not a trustworthy organization to work for.
                      Click to expand...

                      Yes, sounds exactly like my experience with first employer.  Waiting to last minute for contract allows no time for your group to review individually or discuss between your partners.  It is intentional as it benefits them.

                      As a group, not really, most if not all will blindly sign it and go about their day.  Across the board I would say most physicians are passive aggressive sheep.  They will complain, whine, and complain some more, but when push comes to shove, they will give in and do what they are told.  It's sad really.  Individually, if you are prn, you could simply not pick up any more shifts until you get a suitable contract that you have had reviewed.  Maybe that day never comes and you don't pick up any more shifts.  If they really really need you, maybe they will respond to you, but I would not count on it.  All you can really do is walk away.

                      Funny how they threaten an interruption to your pay.  It's summer, kids are home from school, unless something in my existing contract stated that it carried over until new contract is signed, as someone mentioned, I would be more than happy to take the rest of the summer off and spend with my kids. Why it's so important to live well below your means so no one can hold your paycheck over your head. Unfortunately I think most physicians are living almost paycheck to paycheck, and have no choice but to be bullied in to submission.  I would in no uncertain terms let them know I could care less about the interruption to pay, I would be happy to have the time off...of course I also will not be working any shifts until we get this straightened out.

                      They are not trustworthy, why would you believe that?  Your company is out for itself, period.  You have to be looking out for yourself, period.   Don't get trapped in the 'we are all in this together' mentality.  We are adults in the real world, that's how it works whether some people want to believe it or not.




                      • #12
                        I disagree slightly with Craigy. It has been my experience that nothing really makes admin ************************ their pants. All the docs could walk off and admin wouldn't blink an eye. All docs are viewed as commodities. Fungible.

                        And it would alll be viewed as stubborn unreasonable physicians.


                        • #13

                          I disagree slightly with Craigy. It has been my experience that nothing really makes admin ************************ their pants. All the docs could walk off and admin wouldn’t blink an eye. All docs are viewed as commodities. Fungible.

                          And it would alll be viewed as stubborn unreasonable physicians.
                          Click to expand...

                          Really, they could replace them that quickly?

                          Credentialing process alone takes months.

                          But yeah ultimately if it's just a couple few docs, easily replaceable.


                          • #14
                            They do consider docs this way because it has worked so well in the past and theyve never yet run into trouble, and for the unreasonable perception they know that also decreases any push back.


                            • #15
                              They don't worry about replacing them. Patient care is clinical problem, not admin problem. They just force other doctors to cover or transfer patients short term until disruptors are replaced.

                              Clearly they were not good cultural fits, you see.