A Disturbing Trend in Non-Competes


Check your contract to make sure your non-compete is centered at the primary office in which you practice, rather than any office site the health system owns.



The “primary office”language has long been standard, but as competition for clinician labor heats up (I recently saw a pop up ad recruiting general internists for Mayo), non-competes are becoming as restrictive as the law can make them.



The fact that health systems are trying to retain their clinicians through coercion rather than   increased pay and improved working conditions speaks volumes about the leadership and their goals.



Non-competes are tricky things.



Like any contract, they can’t contain provisions contrary to the interest of society.



Clinicians are limited in number and have essential expertise, so the courts have been reluctant to enforce any but the most narrow non-competes.



The change from “primary office” to “any office” pushes that envelope—we’ll see if it’s enforceable.



In the meantime, look carefully for this contracting trap.



And if you find it, remember, it tells you more about your employer than where you can practice.