Answered Questions about the I&FM Market

Do I&FM providers make more money than traditional providers?

With the interest in I&FM medicine as an emerging technology, there is the expectation that I&FM providers should be in demand–and that this demand would drive up their compensation. Unfortunately, there is little evidence to suggest that I&FM providers will make more than their traditional counterparts. I&FM positions offered by corporate entities tend to be on par with traditional positions. Private practice offers can range significantly between start ups offering the bare minimum to established I&FM practices with mature positions available, which is similar to traditional positions in private practice.

What factors are important when considering an I&FM position?

There are, of course, many factors that are important when considering a new position, but three to remember are scope of practice, cost of living and an exit strategy. Because I&FM is still a very undefined term, the scope of practice–what the provider will and won’t be able to do–needs to be delineated, (as discussed in e3Business pageTypes of I&FM Practice by Focus (CLICK HERE)). Some corporate entities believe that I&FM providers will be content to see one or two I&FM patients a day, while providers in private practice may see only I&FM patients.

The cost of living should also be a main consideration if a provider is relocating, as costs such as housing varies significantly from areas such as the Midwest and South versus the east or west coast. A provider making $300,000 in rural Kansas would be able to buy a very nice home, while a provider making the same amount in San Diego wouldn’t be able to afford a home at all. e3Business provides links to several cost of living calculators (CLICK HERE). 

Finally, providers should make sure that they have a viable exit strategy if the position doesn’t work out. Will the provider have to repay signing bonus? Will the provider be responsible for the cost of tail policy? Will the provider be able to find another job in the new practice territory? Once the provider signs a contract, they lose all leverage to improve their exit strategy, the provider should address these issues up front.

Are non-compete clauses enforceable? 

Non-compete clauses or agreements are addressed differently by each state. Some states won’t interfere with a valid non-compete clause, while other states ban non-compete agreements for employees or limit non-compete agreements for contractors from being “excessive.” As discussed in Chapter 5 of “Higher Ground” (CLICK HERE), providers may find it difficult to fight non-compete agreements even if the non-compete clause is excessive. Although there are exceptions, providers should plan to honor a non-compete clause agreement if they sign one unless they are prepared for litigation.