Gender bias is not acceptable. Unfortunately, it exists and the healthcare industry is not immune to its effects. Myriad surveys have shown that even as more women are becoming doctors, they continue to suffer pay inequity compared to men. They also suffer bias within their professional ranks, with research finding that female surgeons more likely than male surgeons to see referrals decline after a single negative patient outcome.
As we have noted before, surveys of women doctors also reveal that most of them feel they are at a disadvantage across a broad spectrum of medical industry issues – from performance evaluations, incomparable pay and even in contract negotiations. But, just as care delivery can be enhanced through solid advocacy on behalf of patients, data suggests that legal advocacy on behalf of doctors and nurses can enhance their financial well-being.
Key issues to address in contracts
Those with experience in this area of law understand that, regardless of the structure through which a physician is contracted, the law sees the relationship as being one-to-one. For example, let’s say a hospital contracts with a group practice for services. In the context of deliverables, each individual member of the practice enters into a direct relationship with the employer. That being so, it’s important for each individual in the practice to be aware of all the provisions of the agreement.
Knowing what form your compensation will take is also important. Will pay be based on volume of care delivered? Will compensation be capped? If new payment models are developed before the end of the current contract, how will they be implemented?
Perhaps one of the most delicate issues to address revolves around the ending of the employment relationship. What can be built into the contract to ensure that you don’t take the hit for situations that are out of your control – such as loss of productivity due to changes in healthcare utilization? Are there any non-compete restrictions that might hinder you from pursuing your career?
All of these legal matters have an influence on your earning potential and working with experienced counsel is how you can protect your rights and interests during the negotiation process.