Hospitals and other corporate entities that increasingly employ physicians, like insurance companies, too often trap physicians and their patients by coercing doctors to sign anti-competitive non-compete clauses.
In short, these harmful contract terms prohibit medical professionals from leaving an employer without giving up their ability to continue practicing medicine, for a competing hospital or even as an independent clinician. Nearly half of physicians are bound by a non-compete clause, according to various reports.
This means that even when physicians feel the hospital, insurance company, or corporation that employs them hampers their ability to treat patients to the best of their ability, or endangers patient safety, they are essentially coerced to stay and keep quiet, or give up their patients and the practice of medicine in their community.
The good news is that many states are beginning to pass legislation prohibiting non-compete clauses, and there are even bipartisan sponsors for federal legislation to do the same. Even the American Medical Association agrees that noncompete agreements “restrict competition, can disrupt continuity of care, and may limit access to care.” The vast majority of physicians surveyed concur that removal of non-compete clauses would improve the overall medical care of patients.
One profession is already protected from non-competes: “The American Bar Association’s (ABA) prohibition on lawyer non-compete agreements is intended to protect attorneys’ ‘professional autonomy’ and to ensure ‘the freedom of clients’ to select counsel of their choice,” explains malesculaw.com. The same should clearly apply to physicians.
Now the Federal Trade Commission is taking action as well by proposing to ban all employers from imposing non-compete restrictions. The FTC is soliciting public comment on the proposal until March 10, 2023. It is crucial that medical professionals and patients speak out in support of the ban, because the special interests with deep pockets, like hospital systems, that benefit from non-compete clauses are fiercely lobbying to stop the FTC proposal.
Please take a few minutes today to submit a comment to the FTC in support of the commissions proposed ban.
You can get a message on the way with just a few clicks at the following link:https://p2a.co/4yCHRtb
If you have experienced harm due to non-compete clauses, please feel free to personalize the template message to share your story.
Thank you for speaking out! Your voice makes a difference. ~AAPS