The Pennsylvania Medical Society's (PAMED's) Employed Physician Task Force recently developed a Physicians Bill of Rights designed to address the concerns of employed physicians working for hospitals, health systems, and other health care organizations in the commonwealth. On Oct. 21, 2016, PAMED's Board of Trustees voted to approve the Physicians Bill of Rights.
The Task Force —led by emergency physician Kristen Sandel, MD—sought to address member concerns about physicians' clinical autonomy as well as the need for fairness concerning issues like employment contracts.
"This is an exciting time for PAMED and employed physicians," Dr. Sandel said. "I believe that we are the first statewide medical society to pass a Physicians Bill of Rights. My hope is that the Bill of Rights can be used as talking points between physicians and employers to continue to develop physician-friendly work sites focused on high quality, patient-centered care."
The bill of rights includes these 10 tenets:
- Physicians should have autonomy in clinical decision-making.
- Physicians should have adequate staffing, equipment, and supplies to assist them in providing the best patient care.
- Physicians should not be required to agree to any unreasonable non-compete clauses.
- Physicians should be provided paid sick leave exclusive of personal or vacation days as provided to other employees.
- Physicians should be provided with adequate, paid time to complete administrative tasks including, but not limited to, paperwork, charting, rounds, and calls that are required for the performance of their clinical duties.
- Physicians should not be required to, and their pay should not be dependent upon, the supervision of activities of mid-level practitioners in which they did not actively participate with on-site or at the time of the activity.
- A physician's pay should be dependent on the physician's ability and not on activities for which the physician does not control, such as patient scheduling, clinical ambience, and staff performance.
- Physicians should receive transparency in contract terms, including salary structure, benefits, and reimbursement for their clinical billing.
- Every physician's contract for employment should specify a time limit and may not be terminated early without just cause.
- Physicians are entitled to academic freedom without censorship, including, but not limited to, clinical research, academic pursuits, and public expression.