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When and how to update a physician contract


a physician and recruiter shaking hands in front of a contract and learning when and how to update a physician contract Posted by Jackie Farley
a physician and recruiter shaking hands in front of a contract and learning when and how to update a physician contract

In an ever-evolving environment like medicine, it is crucial physician agreements be flexible and responsive to the changing needs and circumstances of both the physician and the organization. As a physician recruiter, you must have a good grasp on when and how to update a physician’s agreement to maintain a mutually beneficial and sustainable professional relationship.

When to consider updating a physician’s agreement

  1. Contract renewal

The most common time to review and update an agreement is during contract renewal. This gives both the physician and your organization the opportunity to revisit and, if necessary, revise the terms and conditions, considering any changes that may have occurred since the initial agreement.

  1. Change in job scope

If a physician’s role, responsibilities or specialty have changed or evolved significantly, it’s time to update the agreement. They could include changes in patient load, clinical duties, leadership roles or additional certifications.

  1. Compensation adjustments

If there have been changes in the compensation structure, such as base salary, bonuses or benefits, it might require an update. These changes could be the result of market conditions, organizational policies or the physician’s achievements.

  1. Practice ownership or partnership

When a physician is transitioning from an employed position to practice ownership, partnership or a different contractual relationship, a new agreement is needed to reflect their new status and responsibilities.

  1. Regulatory and legal changes

The healthcare industry is always subject to ongoing regulatory changes, so updates to agreements may be necessary to ensure compliance with new laws or industry standards.

  1. Feedback and concerns

In the interest of open communication, if a physician expresses concerns, needs or desires changes in their agreement, these should be taken into consideration and discussed with the physician.

How to update a physician’s agreement

  1. Consult legal counsel

It’s advisable to seek guidance from legal counsel experienced in healthcare contracts prior to initiating any changes to the agreement. They can help ensure the process complies with all legal requirements and safeguards the interests of both parties.

  1. Identify necessary changes

Clearly identify any specific changes or updates needed in the agreement. This could be modifications to compensation, job responsibilities, non-compete clauses or termination terms.

  1. Open communication

Open and respectful dialogue with the physician is paramount. Discuss the reasons for the updates and provide clear justification for the proposed changes. Encourage the physician to share their input and concerns as well.

  1. Negotiate

The process of updating an agreement often involves negotiation. Both parties should be open to making compromises where necessary to ensure the final agreement is fair and mutually beneficial for everyone.

  1. Document the updates

Once negotiations have been finalized and a compromise has been reached, the updates should be clearly documented in writing. This may require drafting an amendment to the existing contract or creating a new agreement altogether, depending on the extent of the changes.

  1. Review and sign

Carefully review the updated agreement so all changes are accurately reflected. Once you and the new hire are satisfied with the terms, have the physician sign the updated contract.

  1. Retain records

Keep copies of all versions of the physician’s agreement, including the original and any subsequent amendments. It is vital to have these documents for reference and protection in the event of disputes or future changes.


It is proactive and necessary to update physician agreements to make sure the relationship between your organization and physician remains mutually beneficial and in sync with the evolving needs of both parties. By following these steps, you can effectively manage physician agreements and contribute to the long-term stability and success of your organization.


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