There exist 3 common contracts doctors sign with corporate dentistry. These include employment contracts, purchase sales agreements, and business service agreements (BSAs). Each of these contracts may be peppered with legal landmines. It is imperative that doctors accept that their expertise is patient care, and not swimming with the sharks of corporate healthcare. Nothing in corporate business negotiation can be taken at face value. This is not a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, as in the doctor-patient relationship, or when working with a specialist colleague. Corporate interest is almost exclusively directed at the financial welfare of investors. By contrast, a doctor’s focus should be his or her patients’ best welfare. The conflict of interest is self-evident.
It is advisable for dentists to secure the services of highly capable legal counsel before entering into such agreements. The attorney should have a solid background in corporate healthcare employment and contract law, especially in the dental service organization (DSO) industry. These are not well-intended local attorneys who may also spread their time between divorce law and personal injury cases. The DSO industry retains the best legal counsel that money can buy. You need to be on a somewhat equal footing.
Legal counsel advice is invaluable with employment contracts. Attorneys may tell you from the onset their personal knowledge of the reputation of a corporate employer, saving you headaches later. Some employers are quite hostile toward employee doctors, as contracts may be routinely dishonored, and workplace abuses abound. In this case, you need to immediately walk away.