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Employment Lite: Profiling Employers Who Will Hire You As A Contractor

Sep 15, 2023

25% of Doctors Currently Work As Independent Contractors

It is estimated that 25% of doctors are performing working as independent contractors, and thus ¼ of you are receiving 1099 income. This is not because you are a workaholic, but rather it is because the physician labor market is changing.

I spoke to a cardiology fellow recently about helping him form a professional micro-corporation as a foundation for his career. He told me about his initial work plans:

“ I plan to do remote work-reading cardiology imaging PLUS a 0.9 FTE contractor-employment lite position with a large corporate employer—OR do the remote reading of cardiology images PLUS a locums job. In either case, I plan to move closer to my family on the East Coast.”

What I find revealing about this cardiologist is that he represents the new normal for younger doctors—their work will be split among stackable sources that all fuel a preferred lifestyle that is location independent of their work.

“Young physicians will split their jobs among stackable sources that all fuel a preferred lifestyle that is location independent of their work”

I have written about this mindset in a blog post at my website, but this is what the future looks like for most young working doctors:


One of the things that I especially liked about our conversation was his resolve to work as a contractor—and this included positions that were originally framed as traditional employment. There were 3 employers especially interested in him, but his litmus test for any next steps was that they had to be willing to hire him as a long-term contractor via an employment lite agreement, rather than as a traditional employee.

I love that fact that was demanding to be viewed as a independent contractor in the marketplace and he was aware that this was a relatively hidden space between traditional employment and complete independence called employment lite.

Admittedly his resolve was inspired by my new book “Doctor Incorporated: Stop The Insanity of Traditional Employment and Preserve Your Professional Autonomy.”

You should check it out, as it is on the Prudent Plastic Surgeon’s list of recommended books where he states “every physician should read this book”—you can find his book review here.

The bottom line is that as a new attending physician—an employment lite contract rather than a traditional employment contract was the required framework for any employer who wanted his professional services. If they wanted to hire him, they would have to be willing to form a PSA contract with him through his professional micro-corporation. Here is an image of what an employment lite agreement looks like:


You will note that it is structured nearly exactly like traditional employment contracts, but the difference is that this is a business to business contract that uses your professional micro-corporation as the contracting entity for your professional services.

Taking Back Control

We have passed through period of time in which our tribe passively allowed large corporate employers to define our professional identity as employed workers—-and subsequently hibernated our special powers to incorporate and identify as an independent contractor.

This employee mindset has become some dominant within the physician labor market that many doctors either don’t know, or have forgotten that they have to power form a professional micro-corporation.

On top of that, due to the general business illiteracy of our tribe, many assume a professional micro-corporation means “private practice”—and therefore quickly dismiss the idea. That is because modern doctors prefer having a stable paycheck and not having to run a business—and neither are possible in private practice.

However a single member professional micro-corporation is not like “traditional private practice”. It is virtual entity that essentially mirrors you and can be used as a contracting entity in any job that you can individually perform—including traditional employment.

This progressive professional micro-corporation replaces the old traditional private practice model of professional incorporation.


Ultimately it preserves your professional autonomy and provides you greater freedom to independently contract out your professional services to a number of stackable jobs.

In essence it aligns better with the modern doctors’s work mindset:

Young physicians will split their jobs among stackable sources that all fuel a preferred lifestyle that is location independent of their work”

Working On Your Terms

You have to resolve to adapt to the market place and not allow corporate employers to define your identity by reducing your hard earned status as professionals to “employed workers”. Because there are multiple benefits to employment, I don’t think you should just avoid jobs within these corporations—you just to do it smarter.

You need to adaptively engage in employment in a way that allows us to preserve our professional autonomy—thus keeping our professional identity within your control. Employees are controlled workers, contractors are not controlled workers—it’s that simple.

In essence, when you embrace this mindset, you signal to corporate employers that a new modern physician labor model is now in play. You expect to follow this paradigm—one that allows you to control and define the type of worker that you are—an employee, or a contractor.


You Have The Power

Every doctor in America has this same power to incorporate themself as a virtual business. It is built into the architecture of your training as a service professional, and you just have to be reminded and informed that you have this special power. Your medical school, residency, and employers are not going to tell you about it, you have to be self-informed and self inspired to unlock it.

But, the time has come to begin a systemic movement of change that is directed and demanded by our tribe to take back control of our professional lives.

It all begins with starting your own virtual professional micro-corporation, and I believe if every medical resident or fellow in America did this—it would form the foundation a national movement within physician labor space. My simple effort at helping to propagate this is by making my book free to download for every resident and fellow here. Most doctors who read my book say they can’t get it out of their mind due to the way it transforms their thinking.

If you are an attending physician already-you have the same power—it doesn’t matter if you are already employed, or even a partnership/group practice. Starting a virtual professional micro-corporation and using it in your current job will benefit you.

If employers want our services, they must do it on our terms, not theirs.

Let’s take back control of our professional medical services!

I hope my content and this cardiology fellow’s story inspire the same action in you. You should demand and expect that those who employ not force you to sign up as a traditional employee, but instead afford you the professional option of traditional employment or employment lite. I would recommend you choose the latter because of how it preserves your professional autonomy and helps you live your best professional life!

If you are searching for a job, I invite you to let your recruiter know that you intend to work as an independent contractor and will only entertain positions from employers who are willing to do employment lite agreements. And if you are currently employed, and want to convert to an employment lite contract within your current job—you will have to approach your administrator about this.

Having worked with a large number of doctors over the years with SimpliMD, I am familiar with the profile of employers who are willing to consider this—and those that are unwilling.

Profiles of Employers Who Will Do Employment Lite Agreements

First of all, the larger the healthcare system, the less flexible they will be with this progressive employment arrangement. They prefer standardized traditional employment contracts that keep them in control—and consider contracted labor a more expensive version of physician labor (which is a myth in regards to employment lite)

Here are a few characteristics of employers that are commonly associated with such arrangements.

  1. Healthcare Networks or Systems: Larger healthcare networks or systems often have the infrastructure and resources to implement Employment Lite Agreements. These organizations may operate multiple hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, and they are more likely to have the capacity to explore alternative employment models and frequently use Employment Lite Agreements as a bridge for assimilating private practices and independent doctors into their system. It may not be in their initial contract menu if you are a new attending—so you will have to specifically ask for it.

  2. Academic Medical Centers: Academic medical centers, which are often affiliated with universities, tend to be at the forefront of innovation in healthcare. They may be more inclined to experiment with Employment Lite Agreements to attract and retain talented physicians while offering them opportunities for research, teaching, and professional development. Due to the multiple roles and income channels associated with your professional work a professional micro-corporation is a highly beneficial structure here.

  3. Medical Groups or Practices: Some medical groups or practices may adopt Employment Lite Agreements as a means to accommodate physicians who desire more flexibility in their work arrangements. These groups may specialize in specific areas of medicine, such as primary care, specialty care, or urgent care. You can even use your professional micro-corporation to own the shares within a medical group or partnership—so don’t assume this must be done as an invidual—businesses can own shares in a another business—and there can be tax and income advantages to organizing it in this manner.

  4. Rural or Underserved Areas: Corporations operating in rural or underserved areas may be more open to Employment Lite Agreements as a way to address the challenges of recruiting and retaining physicians in these regions. These arrangements can provide an incentive for doctors to work in areas with limited access to healthcare services, rather than choosing traditional employment in a more urban area.

  5. Telemedicine Companies: With the rise of telemedicine and virtual healthcare, some corporations specializing in telemedicine may be interested in Employment Lite Agreements—especially since they typically view doctors as 1099 independent contractors anyway. These companies often leverage technology to deliver medical services remotely and may seek flexible arrangements with doctors who can provide care through their platform.

  6. Startups or Innovative Healthcare Ventures: Emerging startups or innovative ventures in the healthcare industry may be open to exploring Employment Lite Agreements as part of their business model. These organizations are often focused on disrupting traditional healthcare models and may be willing to experiment with different employment structures to attract medical professionals.

Let’s Force Change

It's important to note that the specific profile of corporations willing to engage in Employment Lite Agreements with doctors can vary depending on the regional healthcare landscape, prevailing regulations, and market dynamics. Additionally, the acceptance and prevalence of Employment Lite Agreements may evolve over time as the healthcare industry continues to adapt to new challenges and demands.

I want to inspire you to ignite a revolution to take back control of our profession.

Your first step is form a professional micro-corporation and I suggest you do with a company like SimpliMD who works exclusively with physicians to do this—and also specializes in helping doctors set up employment lite agreements.

Next Steps

I invite you to self-explore this further by order a copy of my book“Doctor Incorporated: Stop The Insanity of Traditional Employment and Preserve Your Professional Autonomy.”

I also offer a free 45 business coaching session with SimpliMD for any of you interested in exploring starting a professional micro-corporation or doing employment lite further. You can sign up for a session here:

Attend my live webinar September 29th to find out if you are ready to control your future.

Let SimpliMD help you get your micro-corporation started now.


Note this blog appeared first in the Prudent Plastic Surgeon as a guest post.