Why do doctors get sued for post-termination contract violations?

There are many things that can happen if you breach your employment contract as a doctor. One likely result is that you’ll be terminated from your job. You may also be asked to pay damages for violating its terms.

There are some ways to minimize your risk of being sued though. Consider the following:

Malpractice insurance

As a physician, you’re probably keenly aware of the importance of having medical malpractice insurance. Hospitals and group practices may offer this as part of their offer package to get a doctor to come work for them and also to protect their own interests. If you are terminated with little notice, though, you may not have stopped to think about how your coverage ends when your job ends.

Some contracts may be written where you’re required to provide your own “tail” coverage once the hospital’s runs out. Even if they don’t, you may find it difficult to find a provider to ensure you if there are gaps between your old policy and your new one.

The contract may even be written requiring you to acquire your own coverage immediately after your termination. If you don’t, then your former employer could hold you accountable for a post-termination breach of contract.

Patient records

Unless you carefully read your contract, you may inadvertently mishandle patients’ medical records. While doing so may just violate your employment contract, what you do may also be against state or federal laws.

If the employment agreement states that the hospital or practice owns the records, then taking them could result in you being charged with theft. In states that require physicians to retain a copy of patient records, one who doesn’t do so could face disciplinary action.

The agreement may also contain information about state and federal regulatory laws regarding health care that may affect how a doctor can transition between employers after they’ve been terminated. It may also spell out how a physician should notify third-party billing companies of their departure and transition out patient care.

One of the reasons physicians end up getting sued during the post-termination period is because they consult with a lawyer too long after their employment contract has ended. By contacting a Melbourne breach of contract attorney early on, you’ll be better equipped to meet your agreed-to obligations and to reap the benefits that you’re entitled to under the terms of your agreement.


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