4 Point Check List for Physician Non-Compete Agreements - from a Physician's Attorney's perspective.
Physician Non-Competes - What to look for in Employment Agreements in Florida?
Healthcare non-compete provisions are a part of a broader category of non-restrictive covenants of the physician employment agreement. In the broadest sense, they restrict a physician from accepting employment from a competing entity for a specified period and within a certain geographic area. Florida law is very employer sided and it must be navigated through carefully. Here is what to look for:
- Limit the geographic range of the Non-compete.
Geographic restrictions vary considerably between different employers and specialties, and can range from 5 miles to 100 miles from a practice. Rather than consenting to not practice within a 25-mile radius of your contractor, consider limiting the geographic range to the locations where you were responsible for seeing most of your patients, any occasional work locations should be excluded.
- Watch out for specific competitors mentioned.
Some physician employment agreements are very specific about who is a competitor. Physicians should review those specified competitors very closely, for it may mean that you are giving up future job opportunities with that potential employer. Once the agreement is signed, it is almost impossible to reverse the provisions so you can go work at the specifically excluded employer. For example: say you are working at a regular hospital, but in the future you want to work at an academic hospital because you love teaching, then you should make sure that you are not excluded from working in that academic environment.
- Limit the time frame.
Non-compete agreements typically last from 1 to 3 years, and they vary from agreement to agreement. However, many agreements will say that if you go work for a competitor, in violation of the non-compete, that will stop the tolling of time. Hence if the former employer finds out that you have been working for a competitor past the stated time frame, they may still decide to go after you. This really puts many people at risk of being sued beyond the non-compete provision period.
- Specify the specialty area of practice.
It is crucial to specify in the agreement what specialty the physician will be practicing. For example, if a Med/Peds person is only doing pediatrics, then the agreement should state pediatrics, because then practicing as an internist is still an option inside the restricted area and within the restricted time frame.
It is critical - these restrictions and options to non-compete provisions must be evaluated and brainstormed, so that they do not hamper the future ambitions of the physician.
Reasons to retain an attorney:
- Your personal Physician License is probably the most valuable asset you have
- Employment Agreements have Long lasting consequences of Non-compete
- Physician Compensation is not clear or fair market value
- CME (Continuing Medical Education) Benefits are not clearly listed – (association dues, license dues, course registration, and travel expenses)
- You may be restricted from serving on certain insurance panels
- You may have to relocate out of the area.
What does it cost to Have an Attorney Review a Physician Contract?
Our firm reviews physician contracts:
- Option 1 - for $1,250, and we will give you insights on what and how to negotiate, along with a 10-point Checklist.
- Option 2 - Some physicians prefer for us to negotiate their contracts, ask us about fees if that is your preference.
Here is an informative webinar on "So I Signed a Non-Compete, Now What?" and How Experienced Physicians Negotiate Employment Agreements.
Hosted by the South Florida Hospital News and Reporter.
Reach out to Physician's Attorney Ben Assad Mirza by calling or texting to (954)445-5503, or email me at [email protected]
Ben Mirza is not only an attorney but was formerly a CPA, with a masters of public health. There are over 100,000 attorneys in Florida, less than 500 of whom were ever Certified Public Accountants, and even less have the trifecta combination of law/finance/strategic healthcare background. The benefit of this combined and layered skillset works well for clients who want an advocate to approach the issues holistically.