The Firm News: 12.11.22

We had a great week! My colleague, Esther, did most of the heavy lifting this week while I spent some time in New Orleans. You will see and hear more from Esther here soon! I was able to enjoy a bit of r&r, ate too much great food, and spent some quality time presenting to Tulane Psychiatry and LSU-New Orleans Psychiatry. Both were very active and engaging groups of 20+ residents and fellows. I was able to spend quite a bit of time in-person with both groups and dive in a bit deeper on issues and questions presented by residents. These opportunities are so great for me because it helps me identify some strengths and weaknesses in resident and fellow knowledge base and work to close those potential gaps with content here. Thank you to all who participated and I would love to be back soon! Let’s do more right after Mardi Gras. 

I am seeing a few themes pop up in presentations and when working with residents and fellows. I see more understanding that employment contracts are important, negotiable, or at least in need of detailed evaluation, and can have a huge impact on their career and life. However, there are not enough resources right now that discuss the nuts-and-bolts of the process… initial interviews, site visit interviews, offer letters, offer letter negotiations, getting and evaluating the employment contract, negotiating the employment contract, signing, and post-signing and credentialing issues. Some employers may not do all of these or may do them out of order. I have seen employers want to do initial interview > employment contract > site visit > signing > post-signing credentialing… that’s fine by me! I have no problem skipping the offer letter stage and getting straight to the employment contract. Some might want initial interview > site visit interview > offer letter > credentialing > employment contract > (and no negotiation) … I’m not a big fan of this order. I have a discussion with Lara Hochman MD this week that should do a good job working through this for you, but I’ll will also create more content here on the process. 

Another theme was working with first-contract physicians on evaluating a valuable ask, a dealbreaker, a not-a-big-deal-but-would-be-cool ask, etc. Some asks are actually not helpful. A great example of this might be the “term” clause. Residents feel secure and comfortable with a contract that has a “term” of 2-3 years. However, this often does NOT mean you have a “guaranteed” job for 2-3 years. Every physician employment contract should have a termination without cause clause that allows the employer or physician to terminate for any or no reason on 90-180 days notice. Some residents disagree when I first say this, but almost all agree with me after a 3-5 minute discussion about the pros and cons of a 2-year-no-out or 3-year-no-out contract. Some may want to negotiate for a “longer” or “shorter” contract, but don’t understand that it doesn’t normally mean much when either party can end it on 90-180 days notice.

What’s coming up next?

This coming week we have scheduled a chat on Linked-In Live with Lara Hochman MD on 12.14.22 at 2PM CST to discuss many issues relevant to job searching and career planning, likely including the above. She is what I like to think of as a PHYSICIAN physician-recruiter… she is a physician that is looking out for physicians in an area primarily dominated by megahealth-employer-facing recruiters. There aren’t many like her and I love her insight. She is also now offering a physician job search coaching service that I am super excited to ask her about during our chat. We always have a blast, both on Live/Podcast and irl! Come check it out! It will likely be posted to YouTube after, and I’ll provide a link when ready.

I am also super pumped to host my first IG Live! My first guest is a lawyer, Sid Chary of Chary Law. It will be on 12.13.22 at 8PM CST. He does many interesting things which I hope to explore during our chat, but most importantly he is very skilled and active in physician immigration law. I reached out to him a few months ago after reading his blog HERE about the J1 and H1B physician visa process. He has great insight and I look forward to discussing those issues with him in more detail. This might not be an issue that’s applicable to every physician following along… but for physicians that need these visas, it is often one of or THE most important issue in their life. I hope we can make an impact and reach folks who can use this info! 

I also have a webinar presentation with Physicians for Patient Protection on 12.13.22 at 7PM CST. I support PPP and its mission. My role is likely to be more focused on negotiating supervision-related issues in physician contracts. Here are two blogs on some of the issues, HERE and HERE. I suspect some following here may have differing views than PPP, but I suspect all who are following along here can agree that physicians should not be required to do more work for free, including expanding supervisory roles that are uncompensated or under compensated. Join PPP to attend the webinar (if you have CME to spend by the end of the year, consider a lifetime membership)!

If you have any questions on the nuts-and-bolts of the job search process, physician immigration issues, or NP and PA supervision issues, please send them over!!!

PS Thank you for following along and for all of your support! We started the IG page in April of this year after a hard push from my wife/social media manager ❤️. In such a short time, we are almost at 4,000 super-engaged followers! Many who start to develop a social media following speak about the negative reviews and messages… my experience has been the opposite, and your support of this page and our mission has been overwhelmingly positive! Thanks!

P.P.S. As many of you likely figured out, I own a law firm, Michael Johnson Legal, and we represent physicians in employment contract evaluations, negotiations, and enforcement measures. If you (or maybe a spouse, sibling, friend) are a lawyer and interested in dedicating a career to representing physicians, let’s chat about it. I suspect we will have room to grow the team soon, and I would love to chat with you about it. It takes quite a bit of training to do this well, but we have resources to train and support a motivated lawyer. I also love practicing law this way and using these skills, experience, and knowledge to uplift and empower physicians. I suspect others might as well. 

Chat soon,

❤️ MJ

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