SHMG Physicians 0

Contract Amendment

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Response to COVID-19 - Amendment to Employment Agreement

To: Spectrum Health Executive Leadership

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly destabilized societal norms on a global scale. Its impact has disrupted all individuals personally, socially, financially and psychologically. In this time of uncertainty, it is imperative that Spectrum Health acts collaboratively at the executive, operational and clinical levels to ensure the health and safety of the community, financial viability and economic recovery. Our collective mission to care for our community while maintaining financial viability will require personal sacrifice, a trusting collaboration and continued voluntary engagement. This crisis presents an opportunity for our organization to continue to build a strong, long-lasting, mutually-beneficial alliance between the executive, operational and clinical teams built on trust.

However, in the midst of this crisis and uncertainty, the terms of the proposed contract amendment, its indefinite nature, and the timeline requested for signature are unsettling. While we trust the intent of the leadership, serious concerns have been raised regarding the specific administrative allowances created by the amendment. The specific provisions raising concern are as follows:

  1. The amendment allows for unilateral changes in both compensation and work requirements without notification or discussion, and without expiration, but offers no protection for physicians.
  2. The comprehensive non-compete completely limits physicians’ ability to seek additional income for the duration of the contract.

We are concerned that this language creates imbalance towards organizational control over physician work and compensation in perpetuity. In addition, requesting an accelerated turn-around time without a forum for clarification regarding the amendment has created further angst by precluding an opportunity to carefully consider the proposal.

Most physicians employed by SHMG are noble individuals who will voluntarily render services needed to maintain the health and safety of our patients and the financial viability of the institution; this does not require an institutional mandate. Physicians employed by SHMG have a unified interest in providing high-level care to our community and restoring financial prosperity to our organization, and we would like to discuss terms of an amendment that would provide stability for physicians as well as the system. We collectively do not believe that the proposed contract amendment provides appropriate protections for the physicians. The amendment excludes “good faith” nomenclature as well as binds physicians indefinitely to the terms put forth.

At this time, we are requesting an extension of the due date for signature on the amendment and further clarification surrounding some of the concerning provisions. The ultimate goal is to produce language within the amendment that correctly reflects our shared goal of stability for the system while maintaining a strong collaborative culture built on trust between clinical and executive teams. Thank you for your consideration.


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