New Guide for Navigating Hospital Employment Contracts

The American Medical Association issued a new guide to help physicians navigate complex employment-contract negotiations with hospitals.

The American Medical Association has released a new guide aimed at helping physicians understand and navigate the contract-negotiation process when accepting salaried positions at hospitals.

The “Annotated Model Physician-Hospital Employment Agreement,” developed by the Organized Medical Staff Section and the AMA's general counsel, is being offered at no charge to AMA members (non-members can purchase the guide through the AMA bookstore. The manual covers negotiating physician compensation, the scope of duties, expense reimbursement and benefits, as well as loyalty and confidentiality covenants, the AMA said.

The Association said it published the guide to physician-hospital employment contracts because of the growing number of physicians seeking hospital employment. Sixty-five percent of established physicians, and 49% of those finishing residencies accepted hospital-based employment, according to a 2009 study by the Medical Group Management Association.

"It is critical for physicians to understand what is in their employment contracts," Jay Gregory, MD, a general surgeon and chair of the governing council of the AMA Organized Medical Staff Section told American Medical News. "They've got to know due process. They've got to know what's expected of them."