Ah, the dreaded non-compete.
Why is this clause even legal in today’s physician contracts?
You have behemoth medical systems on one side of the arena (let’s envision a boxing ring for these purposes, even if we’re SUPPOSED TO be on the same side), and the lone physician on the other.
“Let’s get ready to rumbbbble!”
The announcer foams at the mouth, knowing quite well how this match will go down and where his money had been bet.
The physician stands there, defenseless.
The behemoth approaches.
You have behemoth medical systems on one side of the arena (let's envision a boxing ring for these purposes, even if we're SUPPOSED TO be on the same side), and the lone physician on the other. Click To Tweet
The strong side (I’ll let you guess which one that is) flexes its muscle, knowing fully well that it plans to use any means necessary to hold down the lone other side, locking them into place so that they cannot move.
The behemoth will win at any cost.
The bell rings. The behemoth uses its non-compete choke-hold to bring down its opponent.
Unsurprisingly, it wins.
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This is how non-competes feel to those of us actually practicing medicine.
They’re powerful and they’re binding and they hurt both doctors and patients, at the end of the day (because they wipe away any possibility for continuity).
Lawyer Amanda B. Hill touches on non-competes in our recently published article, 4 Steps To Consider When Signing A Contract As A Doctor, writing (for those who live in states where non-competes remain legal):
“If it’s for a year and five miles around your practice, fine, but be careful about non-competes wrapping around “all the practice locations” and all of a sudden there will be nowhere for you to go. Limit the range to the one location where you work over 75% of the time.”
Great advice I hope we’ll all heed. Until we get rid of non-competes altogether, that is.