Tip of the week: How to review resident contracts

Residency Program Insider, November 15, 2013

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All resident contracts should be for one year and should list the responsibilities of the institution and the obligations of the resident. Items to include and review in a resident’s contract are:
• Resident responsibilities.
• Length of employment.
• Terms for renewal.
• Terms for nonrenewal: If you decide not to reappoint or promote a resident, the ACGME requires you to inform the resident of this decision in writing, no later than four months before of the end of his or her contract. Exceptions to this mandate do occur, such as when a resident commits a transgression that warrants immediate dismissal. Remember, if you decide to dismiss or not to promote a resident, the resident has the right to appeal the decision in accordance with the policies and procedures of your institution. Provide the resident with a copy of the policy to appeal termination of employment or nonpromotion.
• Grievance procedures: The contract should make the resident aware of your institution’s grievance procedures, which address work environment issues, and you should provide him or her with a copy of the procedures. Many institutions have a “hotline” that employees can call to discuss grievances, including workplace harassment.
• No noncompete clauses: Although attending physicians in some institutions do have noncompete clauses in their contract, a sponsoring institution cannot require a resident to sign a contract with a noncompete clause. Occasionally, administrators need to be reminded of this requirement.

This tip is from The Residency Program Director’s Handbook, by Robert V. Higgins, MD.

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