DOs and DON’Ts of Physician Contract Negotiations

Despite large sums of money from tuition and huge student loans, medical (Medical Billing Services) schools remain ineffective in teaching aspiring physicians the strategies necessary to achieve success in their field. Arguably, the practice of this profession is primarily driven by the noble goal of helping humanity in times of illness; this altruistic nuance alone is not enough to persistently obtain the full potential and diligence of a physician over longer periods of time. Being a healthcare professional is still a job; a job that needs to be incentivized as much as that of an engineer, or a stockbroker, for that matter…. (The downside associated with a young physician trapped in an unprofitable contract is far-reaching; it will likely manifest, in the long run, as a reduction in the physician’s productivity and dedication due to the inadequacy of the incentives offered.)

Here are some points for young physicians to consider when negotiating or accepting more rewarding contracts:

What to do:

Know your goals upfront:
The sooner you realize and establish your goals going into contract negotiations, the better. This strategy will save you time that would otherwise be spent on unnecessary and unfavorable terms. It also sets the stage for reaching a point of compromise between the two parties, without you having to give up too much.

Engage and feedback:
Engage and feed back your perspective so that the other party knows the extent to which you agree or disagree with the proposed terms of the contract.

Examine the deal with eyes wide open:
To get lucrative deals and not be confused by the literary intricacies of the written contract, it is imperative to read and analyze the contract meticulously.

Be flexible:
They want your service at the lowest possible cost and you; the most cost-effective package possible. However, you won’t always get what you want; don’t let them take everything they want either. Be appropriately flexible, to reach a middle ground between your intended goals and the intimidating goals of the other party.

Not asking for your ideal amount right away, nor accepting the first option they offer you, is also a good way to make sure you reach the middle ground that is not disproportionately skewed in favor of either participant.

What not to do

Never assume that you are incapable of negotiating
Whatever the cause, almost all human beings, with an innate tendency, are capable of negotiating (though some with greater skill than the rest). So don’t think you are different; just get better at it.

Demand more
The initial offer they will make you will always be less than what they are actually willing to pay. So don’t be afraid to demand a higher amount, but do it tactfully.

Don’t be surprised by the lack of preparation
Lack of preparation beforehand can cause you to get carried away and get caught in a terrible deal in the end. Being prepared well in advance will always work in your favor.