Home Career Too much attention to the bottom line “or too little?”

Too much attention to the bottom line “or too little?”

What to negotiate for in a contract

June 2008

While it’s important to negotiate the best package possible, Susan Edson, vice president of New England Health Search, a New England recruiting firm, says that doctors need to keep some perspective during the contracting process: It’s not all about the money.

“It’s too bad when physicians just look at the bottom line, because there’s certainly more to a job than that,” Ms. Edson says. “It’s also about community and colleagues.”

Recruiters complain that too many young recruits make the mistake of not listening hard enough to potential earnings or other details about the job and location. Many physicians focus exclusively on first-year earnings, for instance, and don’t pay attention to what they may be able to make over the next three to five years.

Or they make the opposite mistake: not paying enough attention to a prospective group’s management and business practices. That’s particularly an issue, points out Regina Levison, president of Levison Search Associates, a recruiting firm in El Dorado, Calif., when you’re considering an offer from a private or multispecialty group.

“If the management of the group and the billing piece are a mess,” Ms. Levison says, “doctors working there are going to make less money.” While you should still negotiate the best terms you can, it’s important to meet with the group administrator and billing manager during the interview process to look over financial statements. That will help protect you against joining a group that may potentially have trouble meeting payroll.

For more, read Tips to help you get creative with counter offers.

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