Jon Appino is the owner of Contract Diagnostics, he started this company over a decade ago as he felt a better way was needed to do physician contract reviews. He and I talked after he came across my website geared towards medical professionals, as we seek to serve and provide value to the same types of people. Jon and I had a great conversation about employment contracts. I believe that who you have review your employment contract matters. **disclaimer, Jon does advertise on this website**
While Jon does advertise on the website, during out discussion, he made it clear that a sponsored post was not required for him to adverse. However, I wanted to share my story of how I got screwed over with my first contract and I decided to use this post to ask Jon some questions about his company.
This post will be set up as my anecdotal story about how I did not use a reputable firm like Contract Diagnostics when I graduated and the problems that lead me to.
The rest of the post will formatted as my questions and his answers.
My Story And Pitfall:
Personally, this is one area where I made a mistake early in my career by not using a company like Contract Diagnostics.
This would end up costing me big. The buy in language had one line at the end of a paragraph in my contract that left me exposed to them being able to change the buy in amount at any time.
When it came time to buy in, the owner raised the valuation more than 7x the original verbal amount that they kept floating around for 2 years prior to the buy in. All of a sudden, my $11,000 buy in for a share turned into a $81,000 buy. This was for two reasons they argued. One was that we now had more hires (the hires I was a part of in a summer hiring spree) leading to more income for the group. Second, was that they argued that you used to forfeit your shares when you left….now you can get paid out when you leave.
Good thing I didn’t buy in. The group ended up having some major difficulties. The high ups in the group now had a chance to take a payout and some left the company at that higher valuation.
Fast forward to today. Now the buy in of that group from what I hear is less than 50% what the initial buy in was ($11,000). I dodged a bullet there.
Non Compete – My Story
The non-compete for my first job was also written in a way where it prevented me from working at any hospitals within 3 counties of where I was living for a year after I quit.
You might be saying to yourself, well that non-compete cannot be enforced. While that may be true, it did not stop my previous group from suing individuals who left around the same time I did and violated that non-compete. I don’t know exact numbers but I believe it may have been somewhere around 10-15 physicians getting sued once they left the company.
Yes, almost 2 years later those lawsuits against my previous coworkers would get dropped. However, those doctors who were sued still had to spend legal fees to fight that lawsuit until it was dropped. Okay, enough about my story, on to my questions and answers with Jon who owns Contract Diagnostics.
What is Contract Diagnostics and when was the business founded?
We are a firm 100% dedicated to Physician Contract Reviews. We have an educational approach – not just telling our folks ‘it looks ok, go ahead and sign.’
Our company provides a comprehensive review of all section of the agreement but don’t stop there. At contract diagnostics, we coach the physicians on what and HOW to ask for things they are important to them. We’ve been doing this for over a decade and have reviewed over 10,000 agreements!
Why should I use Contract Diagnostics?
First, all physicians should have their agreements reviewed by someone.
Why us? We are 100% dedicated to this – we do nothing else. This makes us unique. We do not sell you disability insurance, have a recruiting division, or do anything related to legal practice – we simply review contracts all day every day. Our company has review slots 6a-8p to accommodate physicians schedules – weekends included! We also offer FlexPay, an innovative interest free way for residents and fellows to pay over 5-10 months. We have really set up a simple system geared towards the busy professional schedule.
Who will be reviewing my contract and what is their experience like working with doctors?
We have a great team here. All contracts are reviewed by our in-house attorneys and you may even work with them, although they don’t drive the process from their ‘legal’ perspective. We provide holistic view of the agreement, and coach the physician on what is normal, what could be changed, and then how to go about that discussion. Every person here has been working with physicians and physician agreements for over a decade – most approaching two decades of experience.
Do you work with individuals of all medical specialties?
Absolutely – since this is all we do, we work in all specialties and in all states. There are not only nuances from California to Kansas to Florida, but many differences from Ophthalmology to Surgery to Pathology…and everything in between.
What types of contracts do you review?
Our focus is on physician employment agreements or independent contractor agreements. We may be able to review partnership documents, depending on how intricate they are. We encourage all to reach out and see if their particular deal is in our wheel-house!
How much does it cost to have a contract reviewed?
Prices vary but start at 250$. It all depends on what they need from us and how involved we are. Our most popular package includes custom compensation data and unlimited access to us throughout the process (and for a year after if they need).
Are there any geographic / state limitations to who you can work with?
No – we work in all 50 states and have done them in each one!
What are some of the most common issues you see in contracts?
Oh this would take a book! I’d say the basics are not having clear expectations on the physicians time (location, schedule or hours, and call very defined) and the pay not being clear. We also spend tons of time discussing fairness in the non-compete and the malpractice insurance as well as the benefits for the position.
How long does the process take?
From when they sign up in our easy online system, we are about 3 business days away. The time on the phone with the physician varies – but is usually about 45-60 mins for the first call!
What if I am going into an academic position, should I still have you review my contract?
100% yes. Often times shorter contracts are more challenging. All agreements should be reviewed. It’s not only what it does say, but often what it does NOT say that is challenging. We often see academic agreements that are 3 pages – they are not ideal.
How do I contact you to have you review my contract?
We are easy to get in touch with. You can interact with us on our website, contractdiagnostics.com anytime. There are links there for free consults, getting the packages, great info on our blog, and even a sign up for a free Thursday night educational series we offer. Coming soon is a resource page with tons of value ads and great free educational content as well! Link here: