Physicians assistants (PAs) are medical professionals who help to diagnose a patient’s health problems and devise/manage treatment plans. The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) reports that there are currently 123,000 PAs in the United States—they are a critically important part of our country’s health care system.
For both medical industry employers and physician assistants, negotiating an employment agreement can be a complex process. There are some unique issues that must be considered and addressed as part of any contract. Here, our Virginia employment lawyers explain some of the most important things to know about physician assistant contract negotiations.
Physician Assistant Contract Negotiations: Ensure Compliance With Virginia Law
Prior to hiring a physician assistant, a medical employer should review all relevant state laws and professional regulations that will govern the employer-employee relationship. This is one of the things that makes physician assistant employment contracts unique: there are key regulations that impact the position.
For both employers and employees, it is crucial that the scope of a PA’s work duties are carefully defined. What exactly a physician assistant can do in the workplace is regulated by professional guidelines. As explained by the Virginia Department of Health Professions, the state Board requires PAs and supervising physicians to develop a practice agreement. Both parties should keep a copy of the practice agreement and they must be ready to make a copy available to regulators upon request.
Remember, a physician assistant can never do more than is permitted by Virginia law and/or the regulations implemented by the Commonwealth’s medical board. It is imperative that an employment contract considers and defines the scope of practice.
Key Terms in Physician Assistant Employment Agreement Negotiations
A physician assistant employment contract should be comprehensive. It is in the interest of both parties to craft an agreement that is clear, understandable, and effective. Beyond addressing industry-specific issues, the contract should also deal with a range of other common employment matters, such as compensation. Here are some of the key terms that may be included in physician assistant employment contracts:
- Scope of practice and job duties;
- Base rate of pay;
- Job benefits, including health coverage, disability insurance, and leave;
- Future cost-of-living-adjustments (COLA);
- Medical malpractice insurance;
- Performance expectations;
- Grounds for termination;
- Any non-compete or non solicitation provisions; and
- Instructions for how any employment disputes will be handled.
Negotiating an employment agreement can be complicated, particularly in the healthcare industry. Both individual physician assistants and employers should be sure to put in the time and effort needed to come to a proper employment agreement—both in order to ensure compliance with Virginia law and to help facilitate an effective workplace relationship.
Contact Our Virginia Employment Contract Negotiation Attorneys Today
At Pierce / McCoy, our Virginia employment lawyers have extensive experience representing both employers and employees in contract negotiations. We can serve physician assistants and medical industry employers. To set up a confidential initial consultation, please contact us today. With office locations in Norfolk and Richmond, we are well-positioned to represent clients throughout the Commonwealth.
Diclaimer: This article contains general information. It should not be taken as legal advice. No attorney-client relationship has been created. If you have specific questions about your rights or your options, you should speak to an experienced lawyer about your individual case.