The Engagement of a Healthcare IT Job Seeker

In last month’s “The Dating Game” blog, you learned about how the bachelorette was ‘courted’ for several weeks by so many suitors (recruiting agencies).  She narrowed her selections down to three choices, reviewed the feedback and evaluated her options. This month she made her choice!  She gave the selected suitor the red rose and he slipped a beautiful diamond engagement ring on her finger…so nice! OK, now wait a minute, let’s get back to reality!

Just like a real romantic wedding engagement and before the “I dos” are exchanged, many times pre-nuptial agreements need to be considered. These considerations for the world of a Healthcare Information Technology (HCIT) Consultant and “Road Warrior” like me are the most important next steps. Before signing on to a work assignment, you will be presented with some form of a document title such as a ‘Contract Agreement’ , ‘Letter of Engagement’, ‘Employment Agreement’, etc….this is your professional ‘pre-nup’ so please, please read every word of it and have some type of legal counsel review it as well. Especially if this is your first venture into the world of consulting! I know you’re excited, anxious, and since so many people have experienced challenges looking for good work this past year, you might overlook or minimize the importance of understanding what these professional agreements consist of. Believe me, I understand your need to accept an assignment. But also keep in mind, the recruiting agency garners a percentage of your rate and/or receives a job placement fee, therefore they need you as much as you may need them. And it’s not just about the money…you also want to maintain a good quality of life by balancing any potential work opportunity with your personal life!

During my experiences these past six years as a successful HCIT “Road Warrior,” I have seen my share of these professional agreements. My experience has been mostly favorable, but due to a few not so favorable experiences I would like to share with you my notes of “lessons learned” about each of these items and how I have acquired the “art of contract negotiation.”

Following is my list of the top 10 items contained in many of these agreements. Please review very carefully and consider my notes for each item before signing a HCIT professional contract agreement:

1)      Compensation/Rate,
pay term
Be sure that what’s written, is what was agreed upon verbally by you and the recruiter. Also be sure other statements in this agreement detail your expenses reimbursement. Make sure know your pay term (W2, 1099, corp-to-corp, etc. and you are aware of what each of these terms entail.
2)      Term of Employment The date you begin to work and expected end date. Does it state an option for renewal?
3)      Termination of
Employment
What reasons could you be terminated from this work assignment? What type of notice must you provide? What type of notice must the employer provide?
4)      Statement of Work What is your work assignment title and job duty? Review the details of the work location, days of the week and time you are expected to report to work. (These are very important details especially if you must travel out of state). Most “Road Warriors” work from Monday through Thursday (10 hours/day). So keep this in mind regarding your travel plans such as flight bookings, rental cars and the timing of all of this. Learn how to negotiate the terms of these items.
5)      Pay dates,
reimbursement policy
When will you get your money? Timesheet signatures? What are your responsibilities regarding submission of expense receipts, and day of the week these items are required?
6)      Subsequent Employment What opportunities are available with the actual client you will be completing your work assignments for? What are the terms of this potential opportunity?
7)      Job prerequisite Background checks, drug screen, and physical exam. Know when these must be completed. Certification requirements?
8)      Benefits, Bonuses Depending on your pay term (i.e. W2), to what benefits are you entitled; vacation days, sick days, health insurance. Are you entitled to any type of signing bonus or other hours of accumulation bonus?
9)      Equipment Do you need to use your on laptop, cell phone, etc, for this assignment? Is the client or recruiting agency going to supply you with the equipment to complete tasks for this assignment?
10)    Arbitration, Governing
Law and Jurisdiction
Please, please review the details of these items. Most recruiting firms are nationwide and the state that you reside may not be the same state as the recruiting firm you are going into professional agreement with. Know your rights of how this agreement may need to be settled if a problem arises. (i.e. is your state listed regarding jurisdiction?)

These are just a few items to consider. Your contract will have additional items for your consideration and it’s always a good idea to seek legal counsel regarding any legal document you are about to sign.

Also remember that you have the power to negotiate on any of these items with the recruiting firm long before these agreements are written. Most items are standard contract items; my goal is to share with you these top 10 items I have detailed above for your consideration for success in your future work assignments.

Please reply to this blog about your list of contract items you feel our audience could benefit in knowing about. Thanks!

About the author

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Shirley Corsey

Shirley Corsey is a certified Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Consultant/Road Warrior, and owner of her own online training center for the Healthcare Information Technology industry. She is a seasoned Healthcare IT professional with over 25 years experience, with a recent career focus for the past 9 years in the EMR job market.

4 Comments

  • Shirley,

    Another outstanding article of tremendous value to new and experienced road warriors alike, thank you!

    I would add make sure you know which items will be reimbursed and in what amounts. Do they include car rentals and optional insurance, meals, and laundry expenses if staying on site more than 4 nights.

    Be sure to clarify what per diem means, do you get the amount with or without receipts.

    Also, if being trained onsite or offsite, will the hours spent in preparing for the assignment be compensated? And how is overtime handled, at the same rate, or time and a half, do you need prior approval, etc.

  • Also, if being trained onsite or offsite, will the hours spent in preparing for the assignment be compensated? And how is overtime handled, at the same rate, or time and a half, do you need prior approval, etc.
    +1

  • I appreciate these additional items to consider. I hope others will benefit and learn from our experiences!

  • For consulting firms where one might be an FTE of the firm, is additional Epic training available through the consulting firm? Is the firm an Epic partner who can send consultants directly for training (or sponsor them for training), or what career development resources are available?

    I’d love to know the answer anyway about consultant access to Epic training since three different consulting firms have given me three different answers about whether/how consultants can gain additional Epic certifications if not employed directly by an Epic customer site.

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