How To Make the Most Out of Your Healthcare Employment Contract with Anu Murthy
Healthcare attorney and practice consultant Anu Murthy wants to help physicians make the money they deserve — and keep making that amount, even during a global pandemic that’s furloughed and laid off many people.
“There is inherent value in speaking to a healthcare attorney to understand the anatomy of the contract, the nuts and bolts, and primarily what are your rights under the contract?” Anu says. “But also what are your responsibilities under the contract? You may not be able to negotiate very much in terms of language, but you could negotiate some compensation matters.”
In this episode of the Prosperous Doc, our host Shane Tenny, CFP® welcomes Anu to discuss how to get the most out of a contract negotiation (particularly with the help of a healthcare attorney) and how to legally pick up a side hustle if the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your pay. Just like small business owners, she says it’s important for physicians to keep track of their expenses and take-home pay.
Anu also discusses what to keep an eye on going into 2021, particularly in terms of potential Medicare changes and Stark Law reform.
“Even patients that are in traditionally non-rural areas are going to have access to telemedicine and physicians, including procedural specialists as well … [so] we'll see higher reimbursements for telemedicine. The other issue that often comes up is just the furnishing of wearable devices, like a smartwatch or some kind of a monitor, etc. Cardiology sees this as well, that they're able to provide those to their patients. And it won't be considered illegal or run afoul of Stark Law. … The new Stark Law again is going to be more in line with the way that physicians practice and where patients are today.”
💡 Featured Expert 💡
Name: Anu Murthy
What she does: As a healthcare attorney and practice consultant, Anu focuses exclusively on physician, dentist and advance care practitioner employment contracts, partnership agreements and other practice-related business matters.
Words of wisdom: “I think that it's really important at the outset to understand how your compensation methodology works. … So first and foremost, get a good understanding of that. Sit down with the folks at the health system and have them explain it to you in real numbers.”
Connect: Bio (If you’d like to contact Anu while her website is under construction, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
💰 On the Money 💰
Top takeaways from this episode
★ Healthcare attorneys will make sure you’re properly compensated. When faced with a new employment contract, Anu says attorneys like herself know what to negotiate based on how the market is looking in your area.
★ Know your contract before taking on a side gig. Anu recognizes that many physicians have been furloughed or even laid off due to the pandemic. For those looking to make some money on the side, she advises using an attorney and accountant to do so legally and in a way that will be financially healthy.
★ Stay on top of your money. Anu recently had a client who was underpaid for months because of an accounting error. To avoid similar issues, she suggests remaining organized and keeping track of your take-home pay.
★ Pay attention to the news and how it might affect you. Anu argues that the new presidency won’t have an immediate impact on physicians. However, medical professionals should keep their eye on potential changes that could end up having a long term impact on your pay, such as President-elect Biden’s idea to change the Medicare age to 60 as well as possible Stark Law reform.
⚡ Prosperous Insights ⚡
[02:29] The benefit of a healthcare attorney: Anu says there will always be things physicians can’t negotiate in a contract. Nonetheless, there are some things you can negotiate based on what the market is like, and healthcare attorneys will know to look for these details.
[06:05] Non-compete clauses aren’t always what they seem: If you can’t live with the non-compete clause written in your contract, Anu says not to sign it. They’re not always easy to negotiate out of, but she’s had a recent client who succeeded in doing so because COVID-19 caused her place of employment to close.
[08:02] Get it in real numbers and writing: Anu argues that physicians are like small business owners because they must monitor their expenses. It’s important to stay organized so you can go into a meeting with an employer with hard facts and numbers.
[11:48] Know your rights and when they’re violated: Anu explains the details of what a breach in contract is — aka when one party is not keeping their end of the bargain.
[17:39] The effects of COVID-19: Anu explains an issue a lot of furloughed physicians are facing as a result of the pandemic: employers terminating without giving proper notice.
[21:38] Side hustles can work with contracts: Physicians who want to make up lost income by starting a side hustle should work with an attorney and accountant, Anu argues, to make sure they’re going about it in a legal way (if their contract allows them to do it at all).
[25:24] Looking ahead to the new administration: Anu argues that the change in presidency won’t have a dramatic effect on healthcare legislation and explains why.
[28:16]Stark Law reform: Anu explains this 30-year-old piece of legislation and why it’s back in popular conversation in the healthcare field.
💵 Financial Wellness Tip 💵
There are three important I's when it comes to retirement planning: how you’ll replace your income, where you’ll find your identity, and where you’ll find your influence. As you plan for retirement, make sure to identify ways to replace all of the components that have been meaningful in your work. Together, these ingredients will help ensure the prosperous retirement that you've longed for.
Disclaimer: Prosperous Doc podcast by Spaugh Dameron Tenny highlights real-life stories from doctors and dentists to encourage and inspire listeners through discussions of professional successes and failures in addition to personal stories and financial wellness advice. Spaugh Dameron Tenny is a comprehensive financial planning firm serving doctors and dentists in Charlotte, NC. To find out more about Spaugh Dameron Tenny, visit our website at www.sdtplanning.com. You can also connect with our host, Shane Tenny, CFP at email@example.com or on Twitter.