Can a contract bind you outside your job?

January 4, 2008

I plan to start my own strictly fee-for-service practice but continue to work part time for my present employer. In that position, I belong to several health plans. Does being on the panels of these plans obligate me to accept their members in my own practice?

I plan to start my own strictly fee-for-service practice but continue to work part time for my present employer. In that position, I belong to several health plans. Does being on the panels of these plans obligate me to accept their members in my own practice?

It's possible. Some plans' contracts may require you to be a provider for their members both within and outside of the employment arrangement. If that's the case, ask the plan to release you from that part of the contract.

If the original agreement was between the plan and your employer-not between the plan and you as an employee of the practice-you could try to use that fact as the basis for your argument. But tread carefully, so you don't wind up at odds with your boss.

In this issue, the answers to our readers' questions were provided by: Barry B. Cepelewicz, MD, JD, Meiselman, Denlea, Packman, Carton & Eberz, White Plains, NY; Margaret Davino, JD, Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan, New York City; Alice G. Gosfield, JD, Alice G. Gosfield and Associates, Philadelphia, PA; H. Christopher Zaenger, CHBC, Z Management Group, Barrington, IL.

Send your practice management questions to: PMQA Editor, Medical Economics, 123 Tice Blvd., Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07677-7664, or send an e-mail to mepractice@advanstar.com (please include your regular postal address).