Physician non-compete agreements, or a restrictive covenant clause, protect healthcare organizations and the rights of individual practitioners at the same time. Non-competes allow hospitals and offices to safely invest in new doctors and specialists, while practitioners receive legal protections to continue practicing medicine after leaving their hospital or surgical center.
However, non-competes are only useful and beneficial if they are enforceable. Expertly-crafted non-compete agreements are reasonable in terms of scope, location, and length of time, while providing value to both parties. If a non-compete is not enforceable, then it has no effect—and it puts both parties’ revenues and rights at risk.
For medical professionals and their patients, the stakes are even higher. This is why physician non-competes are subject to stronger regulations—and why physicians and hospitals turn to medical law attorneys to review their employment contracts.
The Texas Business & Commerce Code’s basic requirements for a physician non-compete include:
- Access to previous patient records for up to a year after employment termination
- Ability to treat acutely ill patients for as long as necessary after termination
- Procedures through which a physician can buy out an employment contract
Buyout agreements should allow for third-party arbitrators, either appointed or mutually agreed-upon. In addition, non-compete provisions do not apply to any ownership interest in a hospital or surgical center.
Additional Requirements for Physician Non-Competes
The above stipulations are the basic requirements for physician employment contracts in Texas. However, the Texas BCC includes additional requirements that provide specific protections for doctors and patients.
These additional protections include:
- Must provide access to any medical records following a patient’s authorization
- Patient records must be delivered in the same format they are maintained in
- Any fees for copies of medical records must be priced reasonably
If your physician employment contract does not provide for any of these rights, you need to speak with us immediately. Our firm can draft an agreement that ensures compliance with the Texas Business & Commerce Code while protecting your ability to earn revenue.
With decades of experience and hundreds of healthcare providers helped, Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey, P.C. is the premier medical and commercial litigation firm in Houston. Call (713) 909-7323 today.