Here are some tips for consultants in the OBGYN field.
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1 The first tip is if you do not ask, then you will not get. Too many physicians accept the “standard” contract, sign it without a careful review, do not ask nor negotiate more favorable terms, and do not pay the $500-$1000 to have an attorney review it.
2 It is harder to get major changes in subsequent contracts then it is in the first one. But even in subsequent contracts, it is easy to ask for things like pay raises, more paid time off, more paid CME, and if on salary-to ask for fewer shifts per year. You will be surprised to find that the human resource people, or whoever reviews your contract, frequently will grant you these increases, BUT ONLY IF YOU ASK!
3 If your hospitalist group all have their contracts renew at once, it is worthwhile getting together to try and negotiate a better deal for all of you. You can share the cost of the attorney to review for you (and possibly negotiate for the group).
4 Compensation: Read the salary survey results in www.societyofobgynhospitalists.org . Have a good idea what other OB/GYN hospitalists are being paid in the geographical area. Just call them up and ask. Most colleagues will give you a general idea. After all, you would do the same for a newcomer, correct?
Most OB/GYN hospitalists get either hourly pay or salary for so many shifts per year with only the exceptional position also having productivity factored in. Beware “bonus” additions to salary—be sure they are easily obtainable (ask currently employed hospitalists if they have received their “bonuses”).
5 Watch out for restrictive covenants—how long and how large a geographical area (footprint)? Are they restricted to OB/GYN hospitalists versus general OB/GYN in private practice? Will you have to leave the area if this hospitalist job does not work out for you?
6 Malpractice insurance: Do not sign unless employer provides occurrence malpractice insurance or claims made with employer paying “tail coverage.” If you are working part-time and pay for your own malpractice insurance, ask for an increased hourly wage because the hospital (or employer) does not have that expense in your particular case.
7 Especially with your first contract, engage an attorney who concentrates his or her practice on physician employment agreements. Let them negotiate the deal for you without you alienating your future employers. You can let the attorney be the “bad guy.” You can just say, “I don’t understand this legal stuff,” or “My attorney is making me ask for…”
8 Ask for a sign-on bonus and/or ask for moving expenses (why not? They can just say no).
9 Negotiable costs: Employer paid CME, medical staff dues, DEA fees, transportation costs, and medical Society dues are all negotiable, while disability, health insurance, and retirement packages are generally less negotiable.
10 Other negotiable expenses: Payment of previous malpractice tail insurance, debt, and/or loans can sometimes be negotiated over years of service (generally at least three years).
11 Not-for-cause termination: 90 days is common; try for 120 days—the duration should be the same for both you and the hospital (employer).
12 If you are working for a staffing company, will there be “ownership” opportunities in the future-stock options, etc.?
As an independent contractor, I have been negotiating my own contracts for over eight years (using my accountant as an advisor) I have taken some of these ideas from a recent book I reviewed: The Final Hurdle: a Physician’s Guide to Negotiating the Fair Employment Agreement by Dennis Hursh, published 2012.
Information for Hospitalists on Legal Issues, Contracts, and Negotiation:
A sample hospitalist contract:
I, of course, am not an attorney and I am not offering legal advice here or anywhere, but I have spoken to a lot of different OB/GYN hospitalists about their contracts and would be glad to share my experience if you would like to contact me.
Good luck in negotiating your own contracts!
Rob Olson, MD, FACOG
Did you know that the Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists is holding its second annual clinical meeting on Sept. 27-29, 2012, in Denver? Did you know that the Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists (SOGH) even existed? With more than 100 paid founding members, SOGH is not yet widely known within the ob.gyn. community; however, it did not emerge overnight.
Formally established in 2011, it came about due to a group of like-minded and dedicated ob.gyn. hospitalist volunteers who, like me, wanted to create a formal community that would address our specific needs, answer our particular questions, and reinforce, bolster and support our emerging position of influence in ob.gyn. hospital care.
With the concept of the “ob.gyn. hospitalist” widely embraced only since 2003, I wasn’t sure how many other physicians were practicing this model of ob.gyn. care. I was certain I wasn’t alone, so in 2008 I launched my website ObGynHospitalist.com [now obgynhospitalistconsulting.com] to make sure. It was a fairly “homemade” effort at first, but approximately 175 ob.gyn. hospitalists of varying descriptions joined my site in its first 2 years. I had gathered together a community of disconnected, somewhat frustrated, and often isolated hospitalists who were motivated to connect and exchange answers with one another.
As the number of members grew, and the website became the only professional resource for ob.gyn. hospitalists, there was increasing interest in getting together in person. In 2010, I requested that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) allow us to hold a Special Interest Group meeting at its annual clinical meeting (ACM) in San Francisco. I was thrilled that more than 75 people showed up and a lively discussion of hospitalist-specific issues clearly showed that there was a need for a more formal organization to be formed.
An organizational meeting was held in Denver in October 2010 with 17 people in attendance. A pivotal moment at that meeting was when Dr. Larry Wellikson, the Society of Hospital Medicine’s CEO, gave us invaluable advice on how to form a nonprofit medical society.
A second Special Interest Group meeting was held at the 2011 ACOG ACM in Washington, D.C. This provided the impetus and the volunteers to start organizing the society’s first ACM. In September 2011, it all came together. With 43 enthusiastic ob.gyn. hospitalists, generalists, and administrators in attendance, SOGH was officially born.
Cochaired by Dr. Karenmarie Meyer and myself, the conference covered a range of important clinical and business issues that affect ob.gyn. hospitalists. Presentations included best practices in obstetric triage and evidence-based cesarean section techniques. Data collection techniques, safety and malpractice issues, and ob.gyn. hospitalists’ core competencies also were discussed. The SOGH board of directors was elected. Volunteers signed up for four separate committees, and committee chairs were elected.
Following the ACM, The Doctors Company conducted a first-of-its-kind Obstetrical Emergency Simulation Workshop. One of the highlights was the attendance of Prof. Christopher B. Lynch, who flew in from the United Kingdom to personally demonstrate his B-Lynch suture. He will again be in attendance for the simulation workshop on Sept. 27, 2012.
Last month SOGH achieved another milestone with the launch of its website SocietyofOBGYNHospitalists.com, which is where you can find this year’s ACM schedule and registration form, as well as SOGH membership applications.
As SOGH’s outgoing founding president, I’m proud to have overseen its inception, birth, recognition as a nonprofit 503(c)3* organization, and the preparation for the second ACM. Dr. Meyer takes over as president after the ACM, and I look forward to watching it mature in the years to come.
Originally posted AUGUST 17, 2012 on ehospitalistnews.com
This month I’d like to introduce you to two leaders in the ob.gyn. hospitalist field.
The first is Dr. Wayne Farley of Questcare Obstetrics, based in Dallas. It currently has ob.gyn. hospitalist programs in Texas, but has recently expanded to Colorado.
Questcare’s first program was established 5 years ago, and in 2008, Dr. Farley stated: “I’m sure the face of our ob.gyn. hospitalist programs will look much different in 2012-2013.” That vision has proven to be very true, and he still believes that Questcare’s programs will continue to evolve with time.
Dr. Wayne Farley
Dr. Farley attributes the program success of Questcare to its focus on the development of perinatal service lines that the facility could not otherwise support. In fact, they have successfully created a variety of these programs for the facilities with which they are currently contracted and hope to expand them in their future contracts.
Questcare Obstetrics is currently expanding perinatal service lines to include high-risk obstetric referral centers. Even more specialized is the Advanced Maternal & Newborn Institute and Specialty Obstetrics Referral Center at Medical City Women’s/Medical City Children’s Hospital in Dallas. This program offers patient-focused outpatient and inpatient care of pregnancies complicated by fetal anomalies and/or chromosomal aberrations.
In addition to high-risk referral centers and specialty clinics, Questcare also has facilitated the development and implementation of a successful maternal transport program.
With this evolutionary change in Questcare’s ob.gyn. hospitalist programs in just 5 years, it should be interesting to see what the next 5 years bring. Questcare Obstetrics is focusing on providing quality ob.gyn. hospitalist programs, while helping expand targeted service lines for its contracted hospitals.
The development of these programs may seem out of the realm of what ob.gyn. hospitalist programs normally bring to a facility, but Questcare’s programs have brought a significant value-added contribution to the hospital without adding to the overall costs of healthcare.
The second person I’d like to introduce is the current president of the Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists (SOGH):
Dr. Karenmarie K. Meyer
Dr. Meyer is a great advocate of the ob.gyn. hospitalist model, and her goals for the fledgling society include defining what an ob.gyn. hospitalist actually is, delineating the criteria for hospitalist core competency; championing patient safety for women in the hospital, emergency department, and in the labor and delivery setting specifically; adding simulation training as part of our core skill set; and documenting our results through research and publications. Dr. Meyer has led significant progress in all of these areas and SOGH has been recognized as an organization whose members will take the lead in determining how ob.gyn. hospital care is provided in the future.
Passionate about the broadening understanding of the model, Dr Meyer recently stated: “Ob.gyn. hospitalists are much more than just an ‘in-house’ doctor available for emergencies. As our membership and visibility continue to increase, others are realizing this as well. Our members are up to date on current management protocols, and our availability to private physicians and their patients has been well recognized in hospitals utilizing our practice model. Our knowledge, consistency, and reliability will continue to define us as the ‘state of the art.’ ”
Dr. Meyer and SOGH are continuing to identify hospitalists’ core competency criteria and how these will be assessed and certified. SOGH also has been asked to help define the core criteria for the first fellowship in an ob.gyn. hospitalist discipline, which is being offered by Dr. Anthony Vintzileos at Stony Brook in N.Y.; the fellowship will be established at Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, N.Y. The second program will be at the Fountain Valley Regional Hospital associated with the University of California, Irvine.
As the ob.gyn. hospitalist model matures and changes, Dr. Farley’s and Dr. Meyer’s contributions are exciting and are helping to define and drive the future of women’s inpatient care across the country today.
Originally posted MAY 21, 2013 on ehospitalistnews.com
Up to now, I have been commenting mainly on ob.gyn. hospitalists’ impact on labor and delivery, but our surveys show that the majority (64%) of ob.gyn. hospitalists also have responsibility for seeing gynecologic patients in the main emergency department as well as inpatient consultation.
Most gynecologic emergencies are as you would suspect: threatened miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, and, to a lesser extent, torsion of benign tumors as well as the occasional malignancy, and the common vague abdominal pain syndromes. Ob.gyn. hospitalists provide the main emergency department with the type of service that they provide in labor and delivery (L&D) triage or the obstetric ED: immediate or at least rapid response, expert clinical care, and the ability to work with the team in the ED or with other team members such as surgeons in the case of major trauma involving either pregnancy or gynecologic organs. This rapid response results in increased patient satisfaction as well as a more efficient ED.
However, having an ob.gyn. hospitalist cover the ED comes at a cost, as it physically takes him or her away from covering potential emergencies in the L&D area. Some hospitals get around this problem by allowing the ob.gyn. hospitalist to only go to the ED when they’re unoccupied; or if they make a diagnosis requiring surgery, they will call the on-call gynecologic surgeon so that the ob.gyn. hospitalist is not in the operating room with a case just when they’re needed for a shoulder dystocia or prolapsed cord in L&D.
This compromise of allowing diagnosis but not surgical treatment is a good one because even though the main ED is frequently geographically separate from L&D, the ob.gyn. hospitalists can usually rapidly leave the main ED to respond, while they could not provide the same response if they were in the middle of a surgical case. Having a backup gynecologic surgeon on call also provides a mechanism for outpatient follow-up for a medically treated gynecologic emergency patient.
Well-run programs also have an obstetric physician on backup call for follow-up of unassigned outpatient obstetric patients who need to be seen after triage or obstetric ED visits. More importantly, these programs have a backup physician if the ob.gyn. hospitalist gets either too busy or too fatigued. However, our most recent ob.gyn. hospitalist.com employment survey shows that between 35% and 45% of programs do not have an adequate emergency backup system in place to cover the hospitalists (www.obgynhospitalist.com) [now obgynhospitalistconsulting.com].
Rapid and easily obtained gynecologic consultation also helps with improved patient care, diagnosis, treatment, and turnover of inpatient beds. With in-house ob.gyn. hospitalists, the days of internists, family practitioners, and traditional hospitalists having to wait until after office hours for a gynecologist to see an inpatient are over. Traditionally, that consultation would take place at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m., and then additional ordered diagnostic imaging might not take place until the next day, adding unnecessary delays in diagnosis and causing longer hospital stays than necessary.
Gynecologic responsibilities add to the body of knowledge that ob.gyn. hospitalists need to be skilled at, especially with diagnosis and medical treatment. However, requiring hospitalists to provide gynecologic coverage also emphasizes the potential challenge of how to maintain superb gynecologic surgical technique. This is difficult with low volumes of surgical cases. Once again, this problem can be eliminated if there’s a gynecologic surgeon to do the work in the operating room. This is also an area that is of particular interest to the Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists as they discuss and decide which skills and competencies hospitalists must possess and maintain.
Originally posted FEBRUARY 14, 2013 on ehospitalistnews.com
What do you get when you put 83 enthusiastic ob.gyn. hospitalists, generalists, and administrators together in one big conference room in Denver? You get a lot of fun and great, relevant clinical information essential for hospitalists working all across the country today.
Even though I’ve been an ob.gyn. for 35 years and a hospitalist for the last 5, this annual clinical meeting [SOGH – Society of OB/GYN Hospitalists] taught me new business and clinical information. As our model of practice develops, we also can learn much from each other, and this annual event allows us to meet face-to-face to discuss our common problems, share workable solutions, and socialize.
Here were some of the meeting highlights for me:
Dr. Richard Porreco of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Denver, reminded me to respect the condition of placenta percreta, and his expert advice on ways to deal with it was invaluable. He also reviewed peripartum intensive care and discussed the possible future roles for ob.gyn. hospitalists in leading critical care of these patients.
Dr. John Hobbins of the University of Colorado, Denver, explained the use of sonography in labor and delivery, an area that we will all need to pay attention to in the near future. Personally, I only use ultrasound in triage and to identify fetal position in labor, but he showed some of the benefits of using it to assist prior to operative delivery.
Darrell Ranum, J.D., regional vice president of patient safety for The Doctors Company in Columbus, Ohio, covered the factors that result in the delay in treatment of fetal heart rate abnormalities. His conclusion was that communication issues and the delay in the arrival of the physician can both be alleviated by having an ob.gyn. hospitalist on-site. This is something that we still need more data to prove, but his closed claims data was convincing.
Dr. Arthur Townsend spoke about the importance of hospitalist statistics. Collecting statistics is difficult, and hospitalists may not see the benefits. However, Dr. Townsend demonstrated how to make gathering statistics easier with his Web-based solution and the value in doing so, which we need to embrace to prove the difference we make as hospitalists.
Ob Hospitalist Group hosted the lunchtime lecture by Miranda Klassen on amniotic fluid embolism. Miranda, who founded the Amniotic Embolism Foundation (afesupport.org), is not only a survivor, she has made it her mission to educate physicians to identify and rapidly respond to this potentially fatal and often misdiagnosed condition. This was very worthwhile reviewing.
Dr. Stan Davis of Edina, Minn., spoke about the human factors in labor and delivery. He was able to communicate the TeamSTEPPS system in a concise and effective way that made it easier to understand and more relevant for me than all the other times I’ve been exposed to this complex subject.
Dr. John Nelson (nelsonflores.com), cofounder of the Society of Hospital Medicine (hospitalmedicine.org), spoke about starting and operating a professional society, and lessons learned from medical hospitalists so that, hopefully, we can avoid their early missteps.
Prior to the conference, 56 ob.gyns. participated in The Doctors Company’s highly specialized emergency obstetric simulation workshop. One of the highlights of this workshop was the attendance of Professor Christopher B. Lynch, who flew in from the United Kingdom to personally demonstrate his B-Lynch suture technique for the control of postpartum hemorrhage. In addition, GE sponsored a concurrent hands-on ultrasound in labor and delivery course with live models. It was a fantastic mix of learning and practicing old and new skills.
Questcare hosted a welcome reception, which gave attendees an informal chance to meet and discuss problems and solutions related to being hospitalists. This also gave general ob.gyns. who aspire to be hospitalists a chance to ask seasoned hospitalists about their experiences. This is what the annual meeting was all about: networking, talking with peers, and knowing that we are not alone out there practicing this new model of ob.gyn. medicine.
SOGH will hold its third annual clinical meeting in Denver from Sept. 19 to Sept. 21, 2013. Save the date to come and learn more about both the clinical and the business aspects of being an ob.gyn. hospitalist.
Originally posted NOVEMBER 20, 2012 on ehospitalistnews.com