How Non-Compete Agreements in the Healthcare Industry Affect Patients
Many companies require that their employees sign non-compete agreements. These agreements are restrictive in nature and prohibit employees from working with competitors should they separate from the company. Non-compete agreements are becoming increasingly common in various industries, particularly highly competitive fields such as technology.
Healthcare workers are also subject to these agreements, and it is concerning for many because it can impact patient care. If a doctor you have been using for many years or even decades decides to move, you may not be able to trust anyone else. How will you locate your longtime doctor? What happens next?
Tracking down your physician can be quite the challenge. If a non-compete agreement is in place, doctors legally cannot tell patients where they are going. Instead, desperate patients wait to track down their favorite doctors online.
It is not uncommon for hospitals and clinics to use non-compete agreements to protect their investments in doctors. It can be expensive to hire a prominent doctor, particularly a surgeon or someone in a specialty field. By signing an agreement, the doctors get perks such as an established office with patients. Some states have restrictions about what a physician can say to patients once an agreement is in place. Most do not.
Many physicians, however, do not realize that they are signing away some of their freedoms. Because many hospitals encompass a wide geographic range, they may be limited in their job opportunities should they decide to work elsewhere down the road. They may be barred from working in a large city or suburb at all, forcing them to move in order to get a new job.
These clauses harm patients as well. Patients with chronic medical conditions will face issues with their care. Those who continue to see the same doctor fare better than those who are forced to switch doctors. They are hospitalized less often and are happier overall.
This shows that relationships with doctors are important. Patients often have complicated medical histories and having to explain them to a new doctor can a challenge, leading to mistakes in care.
Older patients are most likely to be impacted by the nuances of non-compete agreements. Not being to see a longtime doctor can be frustrating. Many patients in the 70s and 80s do not feel comfortable seeking new doctors. They may therefore refuse to seek care for their ailments, causing their health to decline.
Learn More About Non-Compete Agreements
Non-compete agreements are not just found in the healthcare industry. They can be found in virtually any position where there is significant competition. Employers want to do what they can to hold onto their best workers, whether they be doctors, teachers, janitors, hair stylists and even fast food workers.
Orlando non-compete agreement lawyer B.F. Godfrey from Godfrey Legal can help you understand these often complex agreements. He can advise you as to whether or not you need one for your employees or if you need to sign one. Schedule a consultation by calling (407) 890-0023 or filling out the online form.