Physician Assistant Employment Contract: Factors to Consider Before Signing
The paperwork and a pen slide across the table to you and an eager manager urges you to sign with a smile on their face. You are a newly minted physician’s assistant, and you are very interested in beginning your new career in the field. However, something about the situation is giving you pause. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you just know that this is a moment in life that will have major consequences on the sequence of events that unfolds going forward. Before you make another move, you should reach out to a physician assistant contract attorney.
What is a Physician Assistant Contract?
Physician assistants are almost always asked to sign a contract before they begin their first day of work. The contract establishes key aspects of their job in a way that is legally set in stone. A few of the elements that may be included in the contract include:
- The Rate of Pay – Physician assistant salaries have a wide range of between $60,000 all the way up to $200,000 annually with the median coming in at around $115,000. The contract will establish the rate of pay at a range that both the employer and the employee can agree on. This is the top-line figure in the contract that the physician assistant is likely to pay the most attention to, but it is far from the only factor to consider.
- Schedule – The hours that one is expected to be at work performing their job duties can (and should) all be established in their contract as well. The physician assistant will want to double-check that they understand precisely when they are expected to be at work and how that schedule will work. Is it a fixed schedule? Is it a rotating schedule? These are the types of things to ask about.
- Non-Compete Clause – There may be an aspect of the contract that forbids the PA from seeking employment with another physician’s office or another competitor anywhere else in the area. This type of clause is a common aspect of many PA contracts, but it may still give some people a bit of pause. They need to think carefully about if they want to lock themselves in to working at one specific facility for the long term or not.
- Benefits – An outline of the benefits that one can expect from their job should also be contained within the contract. This is important because the benefits that one can receive are a big reason to decide to take a specific job or not. Your employer should be capable of offering you a considerable number of benefits for the work that you do for them. If they fail to do so, it may be worth considering taking your services elsewhere.
These and many other elements of your contract should all be laid out for you to examine carefully. Should you experience any confusion or hesitation about any aspect of your contract, you may want to reach out to an attorney to go over it with you. Those papers that you are handed have a lot of significance attached to them that is not to be ignored. Other related topics include:
Examining Compensation Formulas
Most people work in jobs where they are given a set rate of pay for each hour of labor that they put into the job. The only decision that they have to make is if they will accept that rate of pay or not. However, physician assistants have a few more considerations to make. Their pay rate may be laid out in a variety of ways.
Base Salary Only
New PA’s that are just coming out of school should expect to work only for a base salary for some period of time. They have not yet proven their skills or value to the employer that they go to work for, and that means that the employer is not going to want to pay more than necessary. For the first six to twelve months, the brand-new PA should expect to make a base salary only. This may come in the range of $70,000 to $100,000 to start until they have proven their value beyond that.
Base Salary + Percentage of Collections
After a PA has put in some time and proven their value, they may expect to negotiate their salary package to include a percentage of the collections that they bring in to their employer. An example of how this might work with a PA who earns a base salary of $80,000 per year at a facility that generated $350,000 in revenue is as follows:
The PA would receive a base salary of $80,000 per year. In addition, the PA would be paid 20% of their collected revenue, after deducting $160,000 (double their base salary) from the total collected revenue. If their total collections are $350K, $350K – $160K = $190K. 20% of $190K is $38,000. For that fiscal year, that PA would earn a salary of $118,000.00
As you can see, the PA earned significantly more than they would have if they had to stick only with the base salary that they were initially offered. This is a favorable deal for the PA.
Physician assistants who have three years or more of experience can consider going for a contract in which they are exclusively compensated based on their ability to bring in new business to the practice. Some might think of this as being a particularly risky thing to do, but many physician assistants see a much higher salary than they would otherwise receive when they align their pay like this.
If the PA happens to work for a particularly profitable clinic, then it is obviously to their benefit to set up their pay to correspond with the rising profits of the clinic. Thus, experienced physician assistants may take a stab at getting their contract to allow them to do this.
For more information on things to look out for in your physician’s assistant contract, please contact us and let one of our talented lawyers sit down with you and get this all figured out. Our team is more than happy to work with you to get you everything that you deserve out of your contract today.
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