Jobs for Surgeons – 6 Things You Must Watch

There are 6 things that a surgeon must watch out for in looking at a new position.
Jobs for Surgeons

When looking for jobs for surgeons, it’s important to be aware of several issues that should be addressed in your physician employment agreement.

Jobs for Surgeons - Where Will You Operate?

In looking at jobs for surgeons, you should carefully review provisions in your physician employment agreement concerning locations of services.

Many physician employment agreements for surgeons require that you perform all operations wherever you are assigned.  This can mean significant time spent driving to various facilities.  This may not be the ideal use of your time – and is especially troublesome if your compensation is based in whole or in part on productivity.  You aren’t generating any wRVUs in your car!

If you are working for a private practice that participates in ownership of an ambulatory surgery center (“ASC”), you could be pressured to perform more surgeries at the ASC, which may not be convenient for your clients – and may raise quality of care concerns as well.

Jobs for Surgeons - When Will You Operate?

An equally important consideration in looking for jobs for surgeons is the question of when you will operate.

If at all possible, the physician employment agreement for a surgeon should have provisions regarding assignments of blocks of operating room time. When performing a physician contract review I am  sometimes able to obtain provisions that guarantee specific blocks of operating room time.

Operating time, of course, is just one component of your job description. You should also examine the patient contact hour requirements of the physician employment agreement. Some agreements provide for 40 hours, and don’t separately state patient contact hours. This could lead to being scheduled to see patients for 40 hours.  Given the requirements of charting and upkeep of the EMR in general, 40 patient contact hours can easily lead to a 50 or 60 hour commitment. When I review physician employment agreements, I generally attempt to specify 32 patient contact hours per week, which should give you adequate time for charting and other administrative duties.

Jobs for Surgeons - Is Ownership in the Cards?

If you are looking for jobs for surgeons at a private practice, you will also want to ensure that physician employment agreements with a private practice have some provision concerning your potential ownership. Although you will want to assure that you will be considered in good faith for ownership in the practice and any real estate in any specialty, when looking at jobs for surgeons you will also want to assure that ownership in any ASC the practice utilizes is also addressed.

Many pracitces are not willing to guarantee ownership, but the physician employment agreement should address when you will be considered for ownership, what criteria will be utilized in determining if you will be offered ownership, and the methodology for determining the purchase price if you are offered ownership. The agreement should also provide if you will be an equal partner if you are offered ownership.

Jobs for Surgeons - 3 More Common Traps in Physician Employment Agreements

Surgeons must also be aware of three traps in physician employment agreements that are common in employment agreements for all specialties. The link in the prior sentence provides a detailed description, but in general there are three traps that ensnare many physician. These traps are issues in starting work under a physician employment agreement, concerns with malpractice insurance in physician employment agreements, and physician covenants not to compete.

Jobs for Surgeons - Other Issues

The above are just a few of the issues to be aware of when looking at jobs for surgeons. You might also be on the lookout for issues concerning physician compensation, call coverage requirements, the physician sign-on bonus, physician benefits, and wRVU compensation traps for physicians.

If  you have an agreement you would like us to review, you can start your review here. We can also provide a free consultation to talk about how we can help.

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Dennis Hursh

Dennis Hursh has been providing healthcare legal services in Pennsylvania since 1982. Since 1992, he has been a physician's lawyer serving as Managing Partner of Physician Agreements Health Law, the first law firm in the country to focus exclusively on physician employment agreements. Dennis has devoted his life to serving physicians and medical practices. He is the author of the definitive book on physician contracts "The Final Hurdle - a Physician's Guide to Negotiating a Fair Employment Agreement, and a frequent lecturer on physician employment agreements.

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Physician Prosperity Program

How It Works

After purchasing the physician contract review, you will receive an email asking you to transmit the agreement and any concerns you have to me. Many physicians do this by email, but I will be available by phone, too. In three business days from the time you purchase the Physician Prosperity Program® and transmit the draft physician employment agreement along with any concerns you have about the agreement and the information I will need to perform the MGMA analysis, you will receive a detailed physician contract review letter from me.

After you receive my physician contract review letter, you will have the opportunity to discuss it with me, to make sure all of your concerns were met, and to correct any factual inaccuracies, or to point out things that were verbally promised but didn’t make it into the physician employment agreement. These discussions, and revisions of the letter following these discussions, are included in the initial fixed fee.

Once you are completely comfortable with the physician contract review letter, you transmit the letter to your potential employer.