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Physician contract review

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  • Avatar AZspine 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 6
    Joined: 04/13/2019

    I am posting to get a sense if the amount I have been billed for my physician contract review is reasonable.

     

    I am an orthopedic surgeon finishing a spine fellowship and took a private practice job. I will be joining a division that is part of a > 80 provider group. The division helped get me a sign on bonus from one of the local hospital. I was giving three contracts and a letter of intent – a contract for the group, a contract for the division, a letter of intent from the division, and a contract from the hospital.

     

    I hired an attorney to review the contracts. After a cursory review, she quoted me $1000 for a straight forward contract review but could be $2000 if a lot of revisions needed to be made. I paid a $1000 retainer.

     

    There was a lot of back and forth between my lawyer, my groups lawyer, and the hospital lawyers. Some of the attachments and figures were either missing or mislabeled but ultimately, there wasn’t any substancial changes to the terms of the contracts.

     

    I got my final bill which is over $6000. I want to get a sense if others have been in a similar situation and if this amount is reasonable.

    #206229 Reply
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
    Moderator
    Status: Financial Advisor, Accountant, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 7161
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    Was her quote possibly per contract?

    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~ 270-247-0555
    https://fox-cpas.com/for-doctors-only/

    #206236 Reply
    Avatar AZspine 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 6
    Joined: 04/13/2019

    No it was for all the contracts.

    #206238 Reply
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
    Moderator
    Status: Financial Advisor, Accountant, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 7161
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    Then I think that is really over the top for her to quote max $2k and then bill $6k without warning and I would dispute it. I’d start with written communication to the effect of “I think there must be a mistake; perhaps you have confused my invoice with someone else’s. I was quoted $1,000 and maximum $2,000 by [name of attorney] on [date] in [your office, over the phone, by email]. You increased the fee without explaining to me that it would be increased. I don’t plan to pay more than what you quoted me unless you can explain why your work is worth 3 times your quote of a maximum fee.”

    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~ 270-247-0555
    https://fox-cpas.com/for-doctors-only/

    #206240 Reply
    Avatar fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 581
    Joined: 01/26/2017

    No idea. I avoid attorneys, but Fatlittlepig thinks you got ripped off. I would refuse to pay up and ask exactly how the bill was calculated, I bet the amount comes down after you do that.

    #206241 Reply
    Liked by wonka31
    Avatar SLC OB 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 397
    Joined: 06/23/2018

    Do you have her quotes in writing? In an email?

    $2000 is reasonable, $6K seems excessive.

    #206257 Reply
    Avatar ZZZ 
    Participant
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 389
    Joined: 06/18/2018

    Welcome to your new reality as a high-earning surgeon of being an easy mark.

    Learn to be more skeptical of anyone charging you for any sort of professional service. Only pay for what you need, and make sure the terms are explicitly defined.

    Hopefully you have communication with this firm that lays out how their fee will be calculated. I’d venture to guess you signed off on something that said you’d be paying their hourly rate…and well, they spent a whole lot of hours negotiating nothing for you, but they’re going to get paid for those hours.

     

    #206263 Reply
    Avatar fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 581
    Joined: 01/26/2017

    This whole thing about hiring attorneys to review contracts is kind of a joke and overkill especially with large hospital groups. The only time I would entertain getting an attorney is if I were joining a small group with several partners even then I would be sure to know the costs up front. LOL this attorney saw your contract and how much u gonna be making and picked a number they thought you wouldn’t object to.

    #206265 Reply
    Liked by eyecandy, Docbeans
    Avatar AZspine 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 6
    Joined: 04/13/2019

    She gave me an itemized bill and I signed a contract with her that she would be paid $370 per hour with a 0.20 hour minimum for communications.

    $1125 for initial contract review

    $187.50 contract revisions

    $1050 revised contract review

    $75 + $187.50 + $112.50 + $937.50 + $262.50 + $150 + $75 + $562.50 + $450 + $450 + $112.50 = $3375 for emails

    $225 + $75 = $300 for telephone calls

    Total $6037.50

     

    I was upfront with her that I could not afford more than $2000. The estimate was given on a telephone call.

    #206274 Reply
    Avatar fatlittlepig 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 581
    Joined: 01/26/2017

    She gave me an itemized bill and I signed a contract with her that she would be paid $370 per hour with a 0.20 hour minimum for communications.

    $1125 for initial contract review

    $187.50 contract revisions

    $1050 revised contract review

    $75 + $187.50 + $112.50 + $937.50 + $262.50 + $150 + $75 + $562.50 + $450 + $450 + $112.50 = $3375 for emails

    $225 + $75 = $300 for telephone calls

    Total $6037.50

     

    I was upfront with her that I could not afford more than $2000. The estimate was given on a telephone call.

    Click to expand…

    Don’t pay. They will lower this ridiculous bill. Expensive lesson.

    when I say don’t pay, i mean don’t roll over right away, push back, reason with them and negotiate. Avoid lawyers.

    #206275 Reply
    Liked by Tim
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
    Moderator
    Status: Financial Advisor, Accountant, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 7161
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    I think you go there, face her, and ask for the senior partner to be present. If that’s not possible, at least have a 3-way conf. call. Explain the original communication and your understanding that “maximum” meant “the most”, not “possibly more”. An ethical attorney would have contacted you and asked for permission to proceed when she realized it was going over. And you should have asked that her estimate be put in writing when you were signing the contract.

    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~ 270-247-0555
    https://fox-cpas.com/for-doctors-only/

    #206276 Reply
    Liked by pulpsnatcher
    Avatar ZZZ 
    Participant
    Status: Spouse
    Posts: 389
    Joined: 06/18/2018

    $370 per hour with a 0.20 hour minimum for communications.

    Nothing like $75 per email.

    “Can we talk later today?” ($75)

    Sure.

    “What time works for you?” ($75)

    1030?

    “How about noon?” ($150…that one took a while to think about and compose)

    Can we do tomorrow?

    “Sure” ($75)

     

    #206280 Reply
    Avatar Tim 
    Participant
    Status: Accountant
    Posts: 1822
    Joined: 09/18/2018

    “when I say don’t pay, i mean don’t roll over right away, push back, reason with them and negotiate. Avoid lawyers.”

    Attorneys get paid on collections.
    Attorneys charge by the hour.
    You had a verbal contract.
    You have a written contract.

    One can a will argue whether your $2,000 ceiling governs, the written was measurement not permission to exceed. She has a position that appears strong. NOT!
    Your position of strength is the checkbook. Frame your argument that you appreciate her work, but don’t feel obligated for more than the original maximum quoted.
    If their are items outside the original estimate, you would welcome a discussion. Johanna’s suggestion with a witness is advisable. Please note the written agreement did not void the verbal agreement or the maximums.
    If you feel the negotiations exceeded the original,
    For attorneys, it’s business. Nothing personal, give in when you run out of energy.

    #206380 Reply
    Avatar pulpsnatcher 
    Participant
    Status: Dentist
    Posts: 36
    Joined: 09/10/2018

    One strategy to consider…. meet face to face….have a witness on your behalf not just senior partner…..state your case succinctly… $1K minimum and

    $2K maximum and stop talking ..period.  Your silence will be powerful and to the point.

    #206395 Reply
    Liked by jfoxcpacfp
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
    Moderator
    Status: Financial Advisor, Accountant, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 7161
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    One strategy to consider…. meet face to face….have a witness on your behalf not just senior partner…..state your case succinctly… $1K minimum and

    $2K maximum and stop talking ..period.  Your silence will be powerful and to the point.

    Click to expand…

    Silence is a simple and often-ignored tool in everyone’s toolbox. Thanks for the reminder.

    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~ 270-247-0555
    https://fox-cpas.com/for-doctors-only/

    #206396 Reply

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