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Physician Contract Negotiation

The physician contract negotiation is the most crucial part of any physician’s job search. It is also one of the parts of the process that physicians are least excited about or comfortable with. After receiving an offer letter, you might be tempted to sign and accept it and get to work. This, however, is a costly mistake that can lead to the following:

  • Loss of compensation
  • Substandard working conditions
  • Missed opportunities

These points can become a factor for you looking for a new job in two to three years. Physician contract negotiation isn’t as complex as the medical billing services (if you get the reference); however, it still requires patience, careful thought, and an overall meticulous approach to weigh in all other factors.

6 Tips for Success in Physician Contract Negotiation

A good contract is negotiation and a careful review of the terms and conditions can make all the difference in your job and improve your experience in the long run. We have put together the top 6 tips to assist in the physician contract negotiation that includes the following:

1. Set-Up Priorities

Before a physician contract negotiation even begins, the doctor needs to set up a clear understanding of their main priorities. These priorities can include:

  • Work location
  • Professional growth opportunities
  • Work-life balance
  • Compensation

Define which of these (or additional) aspects of the contract are most important to you. Doing so will guide your negotiations. Furthermore, listing down your priorities helps you stay focused on the contract terms that are most important to you and even prevent you from being sidetracked by the less concerning issues.

2. Asking Informed and Right Questions

Physician contract negotiation is incomplete without asking the right questions to clear any ambiguities. You will be a better negotiator if you are well-informed before the talks begin. Take your time, and learn as much as you can about your prospective employer and the position by asking a lot and the right questions.

Top Questions to Ask During Physician Contract Negotiation:

  • What is the compensation structure?
  • What is the base salary, and are there any incentives or bonuses?
  • Will there be a non-compete?
  • If yes, what are its terms?
  • Ask about the following:
    1. Duration
    2. Location
    3. Specific facilities/employers
  • What are schedule expectations?
  • Is call coverage needed?
  • If yes, how many hours will be included in the salary?
  • What benefits are offered?

3. Lead with Justifications

When you are asking for added benefits, more money, or any other kind of special consideration, you must justify why you are asking for it. Your justifications must be more than “Well because that is what I want”. If a doctor/physician asks for an additional $40,000 in compensation, they should be able to justify why it will make sense for the employer to grant their request.
If a doctor is unable to answer this question, then they shouldn’t ask for that $40,000.

4. Seek Professional Advice

The physician contract negotiation revolves around employment agreements, which are rather complex and may have some legal jargon that needs explaining. Thus, consulting with an experienced attorney or professional familiar with medical contracts is the way to go. Experts can review the contracts, identify the pitfalls, and then offer guidance on the areas that need negotiation. Furthermore, a professional can also help ensure that the medical contract complies with the applicable laws and regulations.

5. Negotiate with a Positive Attitude

Positive attitude and willingness to compromise in contract negotiation is important for successful negotiation. Negotiation is never a complete win for one party and a loss for the other; it is the process of finding a common ground that works for both parties.

6. Scrutinize Malpractice Insurance

Malpractice insurance coverage is a key element of physician contract negotiation. It protects physicians from any financial liability in an instance of a lawsuit. While reviewing the malpractice insurance provisions, you must consider the following:

  • Make sure that your contract specifies the type of coverage provided, such as other type of coverage provided, such as:
    1. Occurrence based
    2. Claims-made coverage
  • Ensure that coverage limits are consistent and adequate according to the industry standards
  • Negotiate for the tail coverage, as it expands to your malpractice insurance coverage beyond the termination of your employment if need be.


Physician contract negotiation is a crucial aspect of any physician’s career. By understanding the importance of this process and implementing the above-mentioned effective strategies, physicians can secure favorable terms that meet personal and professional needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

The physician employment contract is a legally binding agreement between employers and medical professionals. The contracts sketch the terms and conditions of the employment. These contracts are standard for clinics, hospitals, and private practice employees.

These include:

  • Salary, incentives, bonus – entire compensation structure
  • Benefits including:
  1. Retirement plans
  2. Health insurance
  3. Paid time off, and more
  • Non-compete clauses
  • Termination provisions
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Dispute resolution mechanisms
Medical billing is the process of ensuring that healthcare providers get paid for services rendered to patients. Providers are either paid by patient insurance, copays, government grants, or patients.



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