A contract is negotiable, not take it or leave it

Judy Bee

The author, a practice management consultant with Practice Performance Group in La Jolla, CA, is an editorial consultant to <i>Medical Economics</i>.

A contract might feel binding, but there's always room to change it before you sign on the dotted line.

A: Many physicians sign really ugly managed care contracts because they assume it's a take-it-or-leave-it deal. Doctors seem to have a reverence for standard contracts, but they shouldn't.

All contracts are negotiable, and the process actually is quite easy. Just cross out the parts you object to, change the terms you feel strongly about, and add language that will protect you. Then sign, date, and return the document. If your changes aren't acceptable, you'll hear about it. That's when the give-and-take begins. Remember: To assume the party with the lawyer has all the power is naive.

Answers to our readers' questions were provided by Judy Bee, Practice Performance Group, La Jolla, California. She is also an editorial consultant to Medical Economics. Send your practice management questions to medec@advanstar.com Also engage at http://www.twitter.com/MedEconomics and http://www.facebook.com/MedicalEconomics.