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PAMED Adopts Physicians Bill of Rights Addressing Concerns of Employed Physicians

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:

  1. Physicians should have autonomy in clinical decision-making.
  2. Physicians should have adequate staffing, equipment, and supplies to assist them in providing the best patient care.
  3. Physicians should not be required to agree to any unreasonable non-compete clauses.
  4. Physicians should be provided paid sick leave exclusive of personal or vacation days as provided to other employees.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Physicians should receive transparency in contract terms, including salary structure, benefits, and reimbursement for their clinical billing.
  9. Every physician's contract for employment should specify a time limit and may not be terminated early without just cause.
  10. Physicians are entitled to academic freedom without censorship, including, but not limited to, clinical research, academic pursuits, and public expression.

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I commend the creation of a list of demands that physicians should acquire when hired but I object to calling these 'rights'. 'Rights' should be restricted to certain items that should not be infringed on like, for example, clinical autonomy, but a paid sick day is certainly not a right. I fear that physicians could turn into the next labour union only causing havoc on the profession's work ethic and standards. It's a good start to have this discussion, however. Physicians are no longer respected as the professionals that they are - just another employee, perhaps worse, it seems - the American health system is partly lost due to this change.

Thursday, November 3, 2016 8:24:09 PM


With rights come responsibilities - shouldn't those be delineated also? Many employers include sick time and personal days in Paid Time Off so as to allow for more flexibility in use of "vacation/sick/personal/education" time. That should not be in the rights without an amount of time designated as a total. Also I note that there is no request for payment for continuing education and the time required to attend that. This is a MAJOR omission. I find this document to be self centered and very limited in scope.

Sunday, November 6, 2016 7:28:53 PM


Legislation needs to be passed that eliminates the "ownership" of a physician by a hospital. There is no "arm's reach" on that transaction. The physicians boss should be the patient - not a Thursday morning exe meeting telling the doctor how they order too many tests or that they have too long a length of stay. Hospitals should not own doctors. Insurance companies should not own hospitals. I am sure if the owners of Standard Oil Co. Inc. were around they would be driven crazy by how things have changed to allow such corporate structures.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 8:47:52 PM


Thank you for your comment. We are actively tracking all legislation that has the potential to impact physicians in the Commonwealth. Currently, there is no legislation pending that would eliminate employed physicians in a health care facility setting and we do not anticipate any bill like that being introduced.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 2:00:37 PM