The healthcare industry has one of the largest and most tedious paperwork loads of any industry. A substantial portion of that paperwork doesn’t have anything to do with medical information, but instead has to do with managing contracts and other types of legal documents. In this article we’ll go over some common types of contracts and agreements, the relevant regulatory entities and laws, and some best-practices on effective management.
Types of Contracts
Hospitals, clinics, and other health providers deal with a wide range of important legal documents. Here are most of the common types of contracts and agreements:
Physician Employment Contract
A physician employment contract is an agreement between a physician and a hospital, with the physician agreeing to work as an employee of the hospital. Things included (and negotiated) in a physician employment contract are compensation, benefits, schedule (such as on-call obligations), terms of termination, and restrictive covenants. A restrictive covenant address things such as, in the event of termination, will the physician be able to continue practicing in the area.
Physician Recruitment Contract
A physician recruitment contract is related to, but distinct from a physician employment agreement. In recruitment agreements, a hospital or other healthcare provider lays out the terms of recruiting a physician to come work for them. Typically, a recruitment contracts are laid out specifically to stay in compliance with federal Stark laws, which deals with the handling of referrals. If hired, the just-recruited physician will be in a position to accrue federal inpatient and outpatient referrals (designated as health services or “DHS” in Stark). The proposed financial relationship must stay in compliance with Stark, coming under very strict requirements for both parties. (See here for more information.)
Management Services Arrangement
Management services agreements are used to outsource the management of certain administrative and support employees (basically any non-medical personnel) to a third party management company. Additionally, in most cases this management company is also in charge of the upkeep of the physical offices and equipment. Workers such as medical practice administrators (who manage various business functions), clerical/secretarial, bookkeeping, and collections personnel who do not perform a direct medical function are placed under the management company. For the physical offices, the management company will lease or sublease the practice’s medical offices. As part of the lease, the management company keeps the offices in good repair (office furniture, facilities, and medical equipment). Included with this is also janitorial and custodial services.
Medical Directorship Arrangement
A medical directorship arrangement is a role that a physician may enter into that is more closely related to the larger policies and administration of the healthcare provider they work for than a normal physician would typically fulfill. Though there is some variance in the specific types of tasks the director may fulfill, there are some common features. A medical director may be involved with policy development, promoting best practices, and providing training. With a medical directorship though, comes the need for compliance with Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statutes. The office of Inspector General (OIG) along with the Department of Justice are taking initiatives to investigate any possible non-compliant arrangements. At its core, the Anti-Kickback Statute forbids medical directors from making payments in the form of remuneration in exchange for referrals or to attract business that is paid for by federally sponsored healthcare programs. (For more information see here)
In the medical field, a transfer agreement is a written agreement between two separate healthcare providers for transferring a patient from one to the other. A fairly straightforward document, a medical transfer agreement is nonetheless a legal document requiring witnesses and signatures, and needs to be compliant with specific laws. In a typical medical transfer agreement, terms (length of care), terms of termination, duties, and insurance information are included. Also, liability issues, billing, governing laws, access to records, and free choice and medical judgement sections are usually included.
Contract Management Software
The many different types of contracts related to the medical field, all of which need to meet regulatory requirements and maintain a certain degree of compliance, can create a difficult and tedious situation to navigate. To make handling these types of contracts easier, more simplified, and more intuitive than ever before, use the Concord Contract Success Platform. With Concord, you can perform e-signatures and e-negotiations, as well as review, share, and edit contracts from literally anywhere with an internet connection, anytime.
Please feel free to give us a call at 844-693-7446 to learn more about how Concord can be used to manage your medical contracts and agreements. To continue learn more about healthcare related contracts continue reading part two of this article.