Optometrist Contract Attorney
Chelle Law provides Optometrist Contract Review for optometrists entertaining a new optometry job (in a new state) or renegotiating an existing optometry contract. You have worked hard to develop your skills and deserve to advance in your professional career with a fair market value optometry agreement based on equitable terms. So, when you are about to enter into a optometry contract, getting optometry covenants reviewed before signing with a new business is vitally important.
The terms of optometry covenants will impact your load of patients, practice setting and your day-to-day life. Attorney Robert Chelle reviews your optometric contract’s content, identify the areas that could be improved and assist you in obtaining the best optometry contract possible. Each provider that requests Mr. Chelle’s assistance with optometry agreement analysis receives:
- Available in any state
- Flat-rate pricing, with no hidden costs
- Review of your proposed optometry agreement
- Phone consultation with Attorney Robert Chelle reviewing the optometrist contract term by term
- Follow up with a review of the needed clarifications
These touchstones are even more crucial when applying their roles to the case of a optometrist employed by a optometry group, or other optometry provider. The present day conclusion is simple: A optometrist should not sign optometrist contracts in any state without having the content of the optometry agreement reviewed by legal counsel. For instance, to ensure AOA compliance, associate compensation, disability insurance, student loans, malpractice, associate training, member marketing guidance, etc.
Optometrist Agreement Checklist Review and Practice Information
Each optometrists’ contract is unique. However, nearly every optometry contract for optometry professionals should contain several essential terms regardless of what state it is in. If these essential terms are not spelled out in the optometry employment agreement, disputes can arise based on disagreements between the employer and employee as to the details of the specific term.
For instance, if the OD is expecting to work at the practice Monday through Thursday and the employer is expecting the provider to work Monday through Friday, but the specific workdays are absent from the Optometry Agreement; who prevails? Spelling out the details of your job is crucial to avoid conflicts during the term of your employment.
Essential Terms for Legal Review
Below is a checklist of essential terms that any optometrist’s agreement should contain (and a brief explanation of each term):
- Services Offered: What are your patient care duties for the practice? Are you given time for administrative tasks?
- Patient Care Schedule: What days and hours per week are you expected to provide patient care and have contact with patients?
- Locations: Which practice or facilities will you be based at to provide care at (outpatient clinic, surgical sites, in-patient services, etc.)?
- Outside Activities: Are you permitted to pursue moonlighting or locum tenens opportunities? Do you need permission from the employer before you accept those positions?
- Call Schedule: How often are you on call (after hours office call, hospital call (if applicable)?
Optometry Contract Benefits
- Electronic Medical Records (EMR): What EMR system is used? Will you receive training prior to providing care?
- Base Compensation: What is the annual base salary? What is the pay period frequency? Does the base compensation increase over the term of the Optometrist Agreement?
- Productivity Compensation: If there is productivity compensation; how is it calculated (wRVU, net collections, patient encounters, etc.)?
- Benefits Summary: Are standard benefits offered: health, vision, dental, life, disability, retirement, etc.?
- Paid Time Off: How much time off is offered? What is the split between vacation, sick days, CME attendance and holidays?
- Continuing Medical Education (CME): What is the annual allowance for CME expenses and how much time off is offered?
- Dues and Fees: Which business expenses are covered (licensing, DEA registration, privileging)?
- Relocation Assistance: Is relocation assistance offered? What are the repayment obligations if the Optometrist Agreement is terminated prior to the expiration of the initial term?
- Signing Bonus: Is a signing bonus offered? When is it paid?
- Professional Liability Insurance: What type of professional liability insurance is offered: claims made, occurrence, self-insurance?
- Tail Insurance: If tail insurance is necessary, who is responsible to pay for it when the Optometrist Agreement is terminated?
- Term: What is the length of the initial term? Does the Optometrist Agreement automatically renew after the initial term?
- For Cause Termination: What are the grounds for immediate termination for cause?
- Without Cause Termination: How much notice is required for either party to terminate the Optometrist Agreement without cause?
- Post Termination Payment Obligations: Will you receive production bonuses after the Optometrist Agreement is terminated?
- Non-Compete: How long does the non-compete last and what is the prohibited geographic scope?
- Non-Solicitation: How long does it last and does it cover employees, patients, and business associates?
- Notice: How is notice given? Contact via email, US mail, etc.?
- Assignment: Can the Optometrist Agreement be assigned by the employer?
- Venue: Where will litigation and any law conflicts be heard?
- Alternative Dispute Resolution: If there is a conflict, will mediation or arbitration process be utilized? Who decides what attorney oversees the process? Will it be a health care attorney?
How to Get out of a Optometric Contract with a Non Compete
Non compete in optometrist contracts were originally considered as restraints of trade, and thus were invalid on the grounds of public policy at common law; however, many restraints of trade incident to employment contracts were upheld based on the rule of reason. Thus, restrictive covenants between dentists not to compete after termination of employment are generally enforceable as long as it is reasonable.
However, there are a few states which prohibit health care provider non compete clauses. Please check your state laws for optometrist non compete agreements to see what the specific rules for your state are. The general test for reasonableness of non-competition agreements holds that on termination of employment, a covenant which restrains an employee from competing with his former employer is termed reasonable if:
- The restraint is not more than required for protecting the employer,
- It does not inflict any untold of hardships to the employer, and
- The restraint is not injurious to the public.
Unreasonable Non Compete Practices for the Doctor
For instance, in Ohio, a non-competition clause was unreasonable when it was noted that a provider’s sub-specialty was uncommon, and that it would be harsh if the restrictive covenant was enforced as the hospital where he was precluded from practicing was only one of the few institutions in the area where he could practice his specialty.
Thus, in Ohio, covenants restraining providers from competing with his employer upon termination is considered unreasonable if it inflicts untold of hardship on the professional, is injurious to the public, if the demand for the dentist’s medical expertise is important for the community people and if the dentist’s services are important for the health, care and treatment of public. However, non-competition clauses for dentists, in general, are enforceable as long as they protect some of the employer’s legitimate interests.
Employment Agreements: Student Loans, Insurance, Lack of Resources
Optometrists face much risk when they take the review of optometry contracts into their own hands. Optometry contract terms are highly negotiable and have a great impact not only on professional life and practice but also on lifestyle, family and the future. There are many important optometry contract terms and clauses which can provide and present new complex and diverse issues for any OD, including:
- Unfavorable call schedules
- Small Production Bonuses
- Lack of Benefits
- Not enough paid-time-off
- Not enough vacation time
- Unfair Non-Compete
- Inadequate professional liability coverage
Contracts Lawyer for Optometrists
When optometry contracts are reviewed by an experienced attorney, you will find great financial benefits which end up outweighing the cost of the contract’s review. If you are in need of legal assistance with an optometrist employment agreement or dentistry contract review schedule an Optometrist Contract Review with Chelle Law today!