When you have been a physicians’ lawyer for as long as I have (since 1992), you tend to develop a certain frustration with hospitals, especially in hospital negotiations.
In 2009 I set forth a carefully considered speculation on what rules hospitals follow when they negotiate physician employment agreements and medical practice sales agreements with physicians. (OK, it was actually a rant about hospital negotiations). I would love to say that things are completely different now. Or even much different now. Or, maybe a little different now.
Unfortunately, I think the rules I discovered as I have represented physicians over the years in hospital employment agreements and medical practice sales are still very much enforced by your friendly neighborhood health conglomerate. These rules are as follows:
Hospital Rules for Negotiating With Physicians’ Lawyers
1. We are in a great hurry. There is a deadline of _________.
2. It is unreasonable for the physician’s lawyer to change anything – that will slow the deal down.
3. Every time the physician’s lawyer does change something, we must take a week or two to get it through legal.
4. When it comes out of our legal, the physicians’ lawyer must respond immediately. See #1.
5. The fraud and abuse laws prevent us from _______ (fill in the blank).
6. If you had a real attorney, s/he would know that the deal must be 100% the way we want it. See #5. If the physicians’ lawyer disputes that simple fact, it is proof the poor fool does not know Stark.
7. We are a not-for-profit. Therefore, everything we do is for the community benefit. If the physician’s lawyer tries to get something for the physician out of the deal, it is because the physician’s lawyer and the physician are greedy.
What have I missed?
You may also be interested in my posts about medical record provisions in physician employment agreements, letters of intent, selling your medical practice, and physician covenants not to compete.
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