State Reps. Dan Frankel and Jim Christiana, in their Oct. 13 Forum article ("Make Health Systems Truly Compete"), raise an important issue that has not received significant attention: the use of "noncompete" or "restrictive covenant" clauses in physician employment contracts.
Such clauses force physicians to leave town or stop practicing for a period if they wish to change their practice affiliations or type of practice. This affects patient access to care from the physician of their choice and also creates barriers to a competitive marketplace. While there are legitimate financial expenses that are incurred in establishing a practice, those can be addressed in a nonpunitive manner.
This is an area of law that should be examined and revised, recognizing that medical care is a unique blend of social and economic personal service, not simply a commodity.
AMELIA A. PARE, M.D.
Allegheny County Medical Society
First Published October 19, 2013 8:00 PM