5 Key Details Every Plastic Surgeon Should Know About Their Employment Agreement

December 7, 2018

5 Key Details Every Plastic Surgeon Should Know About Their Employment Agreement

The biggest concern that every young plastic surgeon typically has with their first employment agreement is compensation. Although this can be driving force on whether you decide to enter into the arrangement, it should not be the only driving force.  Most plastic surgeons don’t understand there are five other key details that they must consider before entering into any contract. This article covers what we call The Big Five:

  • Written Contract
  • Before and After Pictures
  • Covenants
  • Patients
  • Benefits

The Big Five should be addressed at some point either in the written contract or in conversations between the medical practice and the physician.

  1. Written Contract – Most states do allow parties to enter into oral contracts. We recommended all parties enter into written contracts.  One of the biggest issues with any contract is the danger of unmet expectations. If terms and conditions are not in writing it is impossible to figure out what was actually expected between the parties.  Therefore our recommendation is always to get something in writing between the parties to minimize unmet expectations.
  2. Before and After Pictures – As a plastic surgeon your life blood is new patients. Additionally, most plastic surgeon’s desire to become board certified.  To accomplish both of these actions you must be able to access and use before and after pictures.  These pictures are used on social media, including Snapchat, Instagram and Real Self, and submitted to the board to demonstrate competency. Most plastic surgeons do not address the ownership and use of these pictures in their contract.  That can cause massive disputes overtime.  Additionally there are a tremendous amount of privacy laws that must be discussed and understood while working through these issues.
  3. Restrictive Covenants – Restrictive covenants are terms and conditions that prohibit a physicians from certain rights. The right to work in certain areas (non-competes), contact patients or employees (non-solicitations), or share information (nondisclosures). The vast majority of the states do allow some form of restrictive covenants.  Accordingly, it is important to understand how those restrictions will affect you down the road.
  4. Patients – It is important for you to understand when you are joining a new practice how you find your patients. Will the practice market you?  When a patient calls the practice, how will they be assigned if they do not have a relationship with any of the physicians at the practice?  What is the process of keeping up with those patients once they walk through the door?  Most of these questions are not addressed in the initial stages of a contract, and are vital to the health of the practice and to a physician’s success.
  5. Benefits – When joining a practice, understand that although the salary is an important benefit, you should spend the time to understand what other benefits will the practice provide. Benefits can include paying for or subsidizing CME, licensing, and subscriptions; providing health care insurance and 401K matching; and of course, providing your malpractice insurance.

To learn more about the implications of entering into a contract, please email us at info@byrdadatto.com.

ByrdAdatto Founding Partner Bradford E. Adatto

Bradford E. Adatto

Brad decided to become a lawyer during sixth-grade Career Day, when he promised to represent his best friend, a future doctor. A few decades later, he started his own law firm that focused on representing health care and corporate clients.