MDNews - Minnesota

February 2015

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T HE MEDICAL INDUSTRY is changing in many ways, and physicians are more frequently asked to enter into employment relationships with healthcare entities. This presents legal issues that often call for the advice of experienced employment counsel. An American Medical Association (AMA) study cites that 42 percent of patient care physicians are now in employed positions with healthcare entities instead of sole proprietors in private practice. This change from a physician with hospital privileges to hospital employee begets a host of consequences, if contractual employment agreements are biased or without review. Legal issues, such as evaluating and negotiating these con- tracts, licensure, conflicts arising out of the physician-patient relationship along with the knowledge of federal and state laws pertinent to the medical profession in an ever-changing industry, require experienced counsel. "These critically important issues are unique to the employee-employer relationship in the healthcare industry," says Larry Schaefer, President of Schaefer Halleen LLC, a Minneapolis law firm focused on advocating for physicians, healthcare executives, and medical a nd ment a l hea lt h professiona ls. "Physicians have traditionally been underserved legally, but expert counsel is crucial to protecting a physician's rights as an employee." Navigating Contractual Relationships As more hospitals, healthcare orga- nizations and medical groups change to employ in-house physicians, these newly forged employee-employer rela- tionships represent uncharted territory for physicians. "The majority of physicians used to set up their own clinics and maintained privileges to practice at local hospi- tals," Schaefer says. "Physicians were essentially independent contractors providing medical services and had to comply with hospital bylaws and creden- tialing requirements." Complex contract negotiations to bring physicians under a hospital's auspices in a full-time capacity often include clear and enforceable contract language about how this relationship can end and what rights a physician has in that process, Schaefer explains. This may include non- competition and nonsolicitation clauses or restrictive-exit strategies, which can be constructed in a way that is unfavorable By Carrie Frye WITH A RISING NUMBER OF PHYSICIANS TAKING ON EMPLOYEE ROLES AND ENTERING INTO CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH HEALTHCARE SYSTEMS, SCHAEFER HALLEEN LLC CAN PROVIDE EXPERT LEGAL REPRESENTATION. Experienced Counsel for Complex Legal Issues Schaefer Halleen LLC: SPECI A L FE AT UR E Larry Schaefer, President of Schaefer Halleen LLC 1 4 | Minnesota MD NEWS ■ M D N E W S . CO M

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