The Physician Employment Agreement Offer

When a physician employment agreement offer is made, the employer has decided that you are the one, so don't hesitate to get a fair deal!

It’s only natural that when you receive a physician employment agreement offer your competitive drive kicks in. As a physician, you’ve no doubt considered yourself to be in competition your whole life. You were at the top of your class in high school, because you knew competition to get into a good college was fierce. In college you took all the hardest courses, and you knew you had to be at the top of the class to get into medical school. Given that background, many physicians feel they need to keep competing after they have received a physician employment agreement offer.

Almost uniformly, though, potential employers view the competition for the position as being over once they make an offer. There may very well have been several qualified physicians vying for that position. The employer may have sifted through a large number of curricula vitae. It’s possible that more than one potential candidate was flown in for interviews. Nevertheless, when a physician employment agreement offer is extended, most employers view the selection process as over. If the potential employer is acting in good faith, it has made its decision by the time the physician employment agreement offer is tendered.

Of course, the curricula vitae of the other candidates may be retained, “just in case.” But this employer has decided that you are the one. It has invested valuable physician time in sifting through the documents of all the candidates, invested money in bringing you in and putting you up when you interviewed, and invested more physician time in the actual interviews. Physicians earn a living by seeing patients, not by interviewing potential new employees. They have foregone significant income by investing their time in choosing their next colleague. This is not a process that they want to keep repeating until they strike the best possible deal among everybody interested in the position.

To reiterate – at the time the physician employment agreement offer is presented, the employer has made up its mind. The prize is no longer the position, it is the physician (you). Of course, I am not suggesting that you now become obnoxious or cocky. At the same time, however, it is important that you realize that you have a lot more bargaining power at this point then you may think you have. The employer probably views physician employment contract negotiations as a tedious step it needs to go through in order to achieve its goal of bringing you in as a colleague. The employer most certainly does not view the initial offer as “take it or leave it”, nor does the employer have a pool of other candidates it would be just as content to work with.

The bottom line here is that you should not be concerned about the employer’s reaction to a legal review of a physician employment agreement. Nor should you be concerned about the employer’s reaction to citing MGMA benchmarks in a physician employment agreement review. By all means, don’t hesitate to get a physician contract review and a MGMA compensation analysis. But, most importantly, relax – the competition has been won!

You may also be interested in my posts about letters of intent in physician contracts and starting work under a physician employment agreement.

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Dennis Hursh

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. 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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