Job hunting is tough. So sometimes when you finally find a medical position that looks pretty good, you’re so happy about it that you don’t take a really close look at the contract they’re offering. But that’s a good way to end up in a bad job situation.
Most contracts aren’t written with the intent of abusing physicians. And even some of the ones that seem one-sided in favor of the hiring practice or hospital are just poorly written. But you need the tools to recognize which is which and avoid bad contracts. Keep reading for five tips that will help you avoid abusive contracts, understand what you’re signing, and know when you should try negotiating.
1) Ask About Tail Insurance
Tail insurance is additional coverage that’s needed after you leave a hospital/practice where the employer bought Claims Made insurance. Claims Made only covers you as long as you’re paying for it, so you need Tail insurance in case a patient you treated sues you after you’ve left a practice.
Many people agree it’s unethical, and possibly illegal, to make medical practitioners pay for Tail Insurance. But if you don’t clarify a hospital or practice’s stance on this up-front, you may find yourself hit with large Tail fees if you choose to leave that practice after a few years. Make sure your contract specifies that you’re not required to pay for Tail if you leave the practice.
2) Understand The Offer
When looking at a new contract, you need to keep in mind that your base pay is only part of the overall compensation package. You also need to take bonuses, benefits, and possible buy-in opportunities into consideration.
Do some research to find out what the national and regional average income is for your specialty. But don’t rely on that as your only guide – ask for the full package information when considering an offer. You might find that a practice with a below-average offer makes up for it with a great bonus plan and benefits. Or you might find that a higher base pay offer from a practice in a different city won’t cover the cost of living there or that the contract is hiding a poor retirement plan.
3) Look Beyond Money
Your contract isn’t just about how much you get paid and whether or not you’re liable for Tail insurance. The points that aren’t dealing with money might not seem as interesting now, but they can quickly become very important. Make sure that you read the contract carefully and ask for clarification if anything seems unclear.
Look for warning signs such as vague language or wording that seems very one-sided. Some contracts are written to give employers an unfair advantage. That’s often a sign of a bad employer. But sometimes hospitals and practices use outside firms to write the contracts and aren’t aware of how unfair the wording is. In those cases, you can often negotiate.
4) Be Polite, But Firm
When you get a bad contract offer from a practice you wanted to work with don’t be afraid to tell them that you’re interested, but the contract needs work. If they’re open to working with you, great. If not then you’ll want to move on unless there are no other options (such as when you’re only looking in a certain geographic area).
In negotiations, be clear and polite about your expectations and needs. It helps to be well-informed about national averages and what their competitors offer, so you can prove that your demands aren’t outrageous. That’s where an expert adviser can be a big help.
5) Work With An Expert
You can’t always rely on a recruiter or the employer’s staff to explain everything in the contract perfectly, especially if you have any doubts about the contract being fair. You need someone who has experience interpreting contracts and can tell when something important has been left out.
Here at RadCoverage, making sure your needs are met is our number one priority. When you’re looking for locums work, we negotiate all aspects of the contract on your behalf to make sure you get the standards, working conditions, accommodations, and excellent compensation you require. And if you’re looking for a permanent placement, we’re there through every step of the process to make sure you get the best possible deal. Contact us today to see how we can help.