6. Competition Restrictions

The non-compete provision has one of the greatest impacts on you and your career and so should be considered very carefully. Employers include these provisions to protect their goodwill and client relationships, aiming to prevent an associate leaving and opening up their own office in the same geographic area. You will want to review the time frame and territory stated in the agreement. Both must be “reasonable”, which is a moveable target. How these terms are defined is key in knowing your rights upon leaving the employer’s practice.

 7. Solicitation of Patients & Employees

Often overlooked, non-solicitation provisions can sometimes be even more important than competition restraints. An employer will put these in place to prevent you from soliciting existing patients, referrals and sometimes even other employees. If you ever decide to leave the practice, you will not be able to solicit business from any of the existing patients or staff members to come with you. It’s easy to understand why employers want these provisions, but, again, make sure the geographic and time terms are reasonable.

 8. Non-Disclosure Provisions & Confidentiality

This may be set out in a separate non-disclosure agreement but either way, confidentiality should be addressed. You will have access to patient’s private medical records as well as other important information that should never leave the practice. This protects you and the employer

 9. Buy-In Process & Value Determination

You and the employer may contemplate that one day you will take over the practice or otherwise participate in the succession process. Make sure any terms involving buy-in or buy-out, including purchase price and any applicable formulae, are defined in the agreement. Avoid gray language such as “to be determined later”.

 10. Anything that is discussed verbally

Anything else that is discussed verbally, get it in writing! If your employer mentions anything, make sure it is documented somewhere within your contract. Remember that your contract is and should be negotiable- protecting yourself now will save you from complications down the road!

The associate employment agreement could be one of the most important contracts you ever sign.  Make sure you know what IS and what ISN’T included in it. Also remember that contracts are not set in stone and they are negotiable for the most part. Before you sign anything, take some time to sit down and think about what’s really important to you in this position.