Agreements with Hospitals
Sansweet, Dearden and Burke, Ltd. (SDB) advises health care providers regarding their agreements with hospitals and health systems. Health care providers can encounter many different arrangements with hospitals, including exclusive service agreements, medical director agreements, agreements for specific services, physician recruitment agreements and lease agreements.
Exclusive Service Agreements
Hospitals enter into exclusive service agreements with providers to ensure the provision of needed services to the hospital, usually on a twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week basis. SDB attorneys negotiate many exclusive service agreements, including those in the specialties of radiology, anesthesiology, pathology, physical medicine and emergency medicine. Exclusive service agreements with hospitals and health systems raise unique issues that need to be addressed in order to protect the health care provider. These issues include but are not limited to the scope of the services to be provided, term and termination provisions, compensation provisions (which include fair market value and fraud and abuse/self-referral issues) and restrictive covenant and non-solicitation issues.
Medical Director Agreements and Call Coverage
Our firm also reviews and negotiates medical director agreements, agreements with department chairs, and chief medical officer agreements. Among other things, the specific service requirements of such agreements (including the scope of duties and time requirements) and the compensation provisions need to be reviewed carefully. In addition, SDB has represented health care providers in negotiating agreements regarding call and coverage services and the provision of services to clinics operated by a hospital.
Physician Recruitment Agreements
Under physician recruitment agreements, a hospitals or health system assists a physician with establishing a solo practice or assists a physician group with bringing in a new physician. These arrangements present complex fraud and abuse issues to insure that the hospital is bringing in a physician to fill a need in the community and that the arrangement satisfies the requirements of the Stark restrictions, federal Anti-Kickback Statute and applicable state law. In addition, these arrangements may present tax issues when the hospital or health system that is assisting with the recruitment is a tax-exempt entity since the funds of a tax-exempt entity cannot be used for private benefit. SDB represents physicians and physician groups in negotiating these arrangements in a manner that satisfies applicable federal and state laws while containing terms that represent a fair deal to our clients.