Not necessarily. This is a very common question asked by doctors when they are presented with a new contract. Often, organizations present their contracts as a final, well-vetted agreement. Unfortunately, a physician could receive an objectively terrible or one-sided contract that many other doctors have signed without reading. Well-drafted contracts are the exception rather than the norm. It doesn’t matter if the contracts come from large institutions, small private practices, or regional hospitals. Spelling errors, missing information, and contracts that are outright copied from other organizations and not tailored to a particular position are common. Remember, many doctors don’t read their contracts. Select, well-integrated health systems have crafted their contracts to the point where that health system can be said to have a somewhat "standard" contract. But even within these institutions, there is variation. Human Resources departments will cut corners and take a contract drafted for another purpose and re-purpose it without ever contacting the legal department. It is vitally important that a physician is always their own advocate and not assume anything is standardized.
Elizabeth is an author and attorney who specializes in physician contracts and educating physicians.
© 2024 Elizabeth Rothman