Health Law Highlights

How Hospitals Are Fighting to Keep Their Former Doctors From Seeing Patients

From NBC News, by Shannon Pettypiece:

Noncompete agreements, which prevent doctors from seeing patients for one to two years within a geographic region if they leave their job, have become increasingly common in the healthcare industry.

Critics, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians, argue that noncompete agreements contribute to physician shortages, sever doctor-patient relationships, and deter doctors from speaking out for fear of being fired and unable to work elsewhere in the community.

The American Hospital Association opposes the proposed ban on noncompete agreements by the Biden administration, arguing that they are necessary to protect the financial investment hospitals make in recruiting, relocating, marketing, and training their doctors.

Some doctors have successfully challenged noncompete agreements in court, but it remains a relatively rare occurrence due to the potential financial and reputational consequences. Instead, many doctors choose to move to a new city if they want to leave their job or are fired, avoiding the risk of a lawsuit but uprooting their families and leaving their patients behind.