April 19, 2010 | | Comments 36
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Read every line of a physician-hospital service contract

As more physicians contract or enter employment agreements with hospitals and other healthcare organizations, they should be looking out for contract traps. Contracts can become so wordy and complicated that it can be hard for physicians to tell exactly what they are getting themselves into. According to Justin Nabity, director of the Training to Practice Program at Physician Advisors LLC, a big trap involves the ownership rights to any device a physician might invent while under contract.

“The contract might stipulate who has ownership of that invention, which is a problem. [Physicians] have to understand who has ownership of that, and if the practice has ownership, they might want to wait until after the contract is over before they develop it. That is something to watch out for,” Nabity says.

Another trap physicians might fall into involves restrictive covenants. Restrictive covenants prevent physicians who leave an organization from doing business within a defined geographic area for a specified period of time if the physician chooses to terminate the contract early. This area can be a radius around the organization’s primary service site, specified counties, or specified zip codes. If a physician purchases a home in the hospital’s service area and terminates the contract early, he or she will likely have to sell their home and move to another area.

To learn more about the nuances of physician-hospital contracts, check out “Understanding employment contracts: What docs need to know about restrictive clauses” in the Medical Staff Briefing newsletter.

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Error: Unable to create directory uploads. Is its parent directory writable by the server? About the Author: Elizabeth (Liz) Jones is an associate editor at HCPro. She writes and contributes to several monthly newsletters including Medical Staff Briefing, Hospitalist Leadership Advisor, and Credentialing and Peer Review Legal Insider. Liz graduated from Salem (MA) State College in 2003 with a B.A. in professional writing. Before joining HCPro, Liz wrote for a national monthly business publication where she gained experience in executive-level business and healthcare issues.

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