How to Negotiate the Best Raise Possible

Shelly Reese


July 27, 2016

In This Article

Other Things That May Help

Don't Forget Allowances and Bonuses

Although large systems may be loath to tweak base compensation calculations, there may be other opportunities to augment your bottom line, Hursh says. You might be able to negotiate that the hospital pick up the tab for your medical staff dues, board certification, or even cell phone. Hospitals often provide an allowance for professional expenses, but if you can get them to explicitly cover a particular expense, you can use the allowance for other professional expenditures.

Hursh says that some doctors are successfully negotiating for retention bonuses that reward a physician with a one-time payment of $5000 or $10,000. The bonus provides the doctor with additional compensation without locking the employer into an ongoing salary increase.

Negotiating a retention bonus isn't a sure thing, Hursh says, but it's worth a try. "I'd love to say I always get it [for clients], but I sometimes do. One thing's for sure: I've never gotten it unless I asked."

Have an Exit Strategy

Contracts contain a lot of complex boilerplate language, much of which will be arcane to physicians. Before signing an initial contract, have a lawyer versed in healthcare physician employment agreements review the document, because some of the provisions may constrain your mobility—and, consequently, your negotiating position—down the line. If you can, remove or soften the constraints. If you can't do so, at least have a clear understanding of how they will affect you, Dr Knoll says. To honor your noncompete agreement, can you practice across town, or will you have to relocate? Will your current employer provide tail coverage? If not, it's best to know that at the outset, so you can save for it should you choose to leave the organization.

The upshot of all this may be that although the contracts establishing physicians' pay differentiate doctors from the broader work-a-day community, the strategies for negotiating better compensation boil down to the same fundamental truth: The strongest business case you can make for yourself is the one that serves everybody's self-interest.


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