Getting Ready for Doctor Number 2

February 15, 2010
Melissa Young, MD

I verbally offered a position to another physician. She has verbally accepted. Now to formalize the agreement.

I verbally offered a position to another physician. She has verbally accepted. Now to formalize the agreement.

By the way, she called me the other day because her husband is in a panic that she is declining other offers without having seen a contract from me. Let me say here, that I know this person. I’ve known her for the last five years. We joke that I have taught her everything she knows. I know her family. I visited her in the hospital when she had a baby. We have visited each other’s houses. She is confident that I will not bail on her or be unfair.

So I spent some time this past week preparing a skeleton contract.

I spent an hour or so with a lawyer discussing other contract stipulations. Aside from the obvious salary, benefits, and vacation time, there was discussion about termination – with or without cause – ownership of records, revenue other than that from patient care, etc. Points I really had not given a lot of thought to. It did seem rather boilerplate, and sounded familiar, having had a similar contract when I was an employed physician.

I want to be fair to her. But I also want to be a smart businessperson. How much can I spend on her as far as CME? How much PTO can I really afford for her to have? How much am I willing to share of what comes in, and how much should she contribute to the practice? What counts as expenses directly related to her employment?

I’m not sure if it would have made a difference if I were hiring a stranger. Would I be less generous? Or would I be worried that the other person would balk at my proposal, and therefore would I be more lenient, say with the restrictive covenant?

The lawyer was quite helpful, going down a checklist, telling me if I seem overly nice or too stringent. She will have the written contract to me in a couple of days, and after I review it, and amend it if needed, I will send it off to my potential future partner. Will she have a lawyer review it? I don’t know. I know every advice column says you should. I have yet to meet a doc who has. Will she just sign on the dotted line, or will we go back and forth with changes?

I also had a conversation today with a solo doc who is now on her second “second physician.” That transition from solo to group is tough, not just on the senior partner, but also on the patients and the staff.

I remember being that second doc. More on that next week.