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Perils, Pitfalls, and Benefits of a Surgeon as a Health System Employee: The Contracting Process

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One would be hard pressed today to find a general surgeon or subspecialty-trained general surgeon who has not been approached by a health system to discuss employment. The majority of physicians find these initial discussions with a hospital administrator daunting at best regardless of whether they are just finishing residency or fellowship training or have had many successful years of private practice under their belt. Just as real estate has the mantra of “location, location, location,” I would suggest that physician employment by a health system should have the mantra of “relationship, relationship, relationship.” The following tips provide guidance on how to better understand the potential perils, pitfalls, and benefits of specific content sections of a standard template employment agreement between a health system and a physician. Physicians should review, understand, and be ready to engage in dialogue with the hospital administrator before involving attorneys. My experience is that if the dialogue begins with the attorneys representing each party, the opportunity to fully develop a partnership relationship between the parties is either lost or at minimum severely delayed in its development.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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