Yay!  You’ve gotten an offer and several days letter the official letter and contract comes in the mail.  What are some things to be aware of in your contracts?

What are the benefits?

Salary is only a part of your compensation.  The other part is made up for in benefits (which is huge).  Get a sense of the retirement packages (is there matching or vesting), health/dental/vision insurance, life insurance, malpractice, disability insurance, etc.

Does the malpractice include tail coverage?

Simply put “Tail Coverage” is coverage by the malpractice insurance carrier that extends after you leave the policy/institution.  For example, let’s say you leave in your job in 1 year, but the following year, one of the patients you cared for during that year has a complication due to a treatment he received during your care.  If you have tail coverage, it would protect you from any litigation.

If your package does not include tail coverage, you will need to purchase that individually once you leave the practice which would be a significant cost you may have to take on.

How are you getting paid?

Is there a base salary with an incentive program?  What is the incentive program?  Are salaries based on RVU’s and how is that broken down?

What should be listed in your offer letter?

  • The title/position you are being hired for
  • Salary and Compensation
  • Start date
  • Faculty appointment, if any
  • Breakdown of your FTE/time
  • Your roles and responsibilities

How much detail should be in your offer letter?

At large institutions, offer letters and contracts have usually been vetted by many lawyers.   It will often have broad statements about your roles and responsibilities and leave details about the schedule to the discretion of the division.   If possible, especially if you are taking on some additional responsibilities outside of clinical work, it may be helpful to have those expectations delineated in an addendum.

Should I have a lawyer look over my contract?

It is never a bad idea.  However, keep in mind that contracts at big children’s hospitals and medical centers have been vetted by lawyers and are pretty much set.  There may not be too much room to change the wording in contracts.

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