Physician Non-Compete Agreements: Who Really Gets Hurt?

John Fisher
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Stopping Medical Injustice

 

Did you know that your doctor most likely has entered into an agreement with his or her practice group that would force them to leave the area should they decide to leave the group before the end of the contract?

 

 

It has become a common practice for large groups in New York, including most in the Capital District, to enter into agreements that would require a physician to practice anywhere from 5-25 miles away from the practice they leave for a period of 2-10 years. 

 

Additionally, most courts in New York will enforce such agreements when physicians try to contest them.  New York courts have taken the position that the practice groups have invested time and money into recruitment and building “good will” at their practices.  The courts reason that physicians should not be able to come and go as they please and take patients with them to their new practices, all at the expense of the group practice they initially belonged to. 

 

However, the real victims in non-compete agreements aren’t the physicians who are inconvenienced by where they have to practice; it’s the patients who have to switch physicians that are really hurt.  In fact, the distance and number of years that are involved in the non-compete agreements are not just arbitrary numbers, but actually based on data that has been collected regarding how far patients will travel and for how long to continue seeing a doctor who has moved practices. 

 

Most patients will not travel more than five miles for primary care physicians, while most patients will travel up to 25 miles to see a pediatric urologist. 

 

However, the patients who are forced to travel, especially with specialty physicians, are the ones hurt by the restrictive covenants that these large group practices put in place.  When will the courts start considering patients needs above the large corporations?

 

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  I welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] .  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com

 

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