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Opinion 8.0501 - Professionalism and Contractual Relations

Physicians are free to enter into a wide range of contractual arrangements. However, physicians should not sign contracts containing provisions that may undermine their ethical obligation to advocate for patient welfare. Therefore, before entering into contractual agreements to provide services that directly or indirectly impact patient care, physicians should negotiate the removal of any terms, such as financial incentives or administrative conditions, that are known to compromise professional judgment or integrity. Particularly, when contractual compensation varies according to performance (see Opinion E-8.054, "Financial Incentive and the Practice of Medicine"), physicians should beware of incentives that may adversely impact patient care. (VI, VIII)

Issued June 2004 based on the report "Professionalism and Contractual Relations," adopted December 2003.