Health Care Employers are now the most dangerous actor in the physician workplace. They are far more dangerous than an aggressive plaintiff in a malpractice suit. They can not only damage a physician financially in the short term, but also make it impossible for her to ever practice anywhere again. And they can do it legally and without providing any form of due process. That is why it is imperative that a physician always have an attorney review the employment contract before signing on as an employee. In almost every case, in which a Health Care Employer fires a physician employee, the employment contract provides the basis for firing (terminating) an employee physician.
Some of the contractual reasons for firing a physician are outrageous. For example, most employment contracts provide that the physician can be fired for no reason at all. Many employment contracts force a physician to agree that if she is disabled for more than three months, or must take medical leave for three months, the employer has the right to fire her. In effect, the employer requires the physician to waive all rights under discrimination and labor laws. The following section provides the most common reasons a Health Care Employer uses to justify firing a physician employee.
Not for Cause
Suspicious and often unproven “for cause” reasons:
“Breach” of contract
“Disruptive” speech or behavior
“Partial” loss of hospital privileges
“Failure” to carry out duties
Substance Abuse, including alcohol
Malpractice insurance premiums too expensive
Theft or dishonest acts
Standard Reasonable “for cause” reasons:
Loss of medical license
Loss of hospital privileges
Loss of DME license
Medicare and Medicaid disbarment
Physicians often take the above provisions lightly, failing to realize that their innocent behavior can trigger a dissatisfied or unfair Health Care Employer into basing a decision on those provisions to fire them.