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Terminating Your Employee’s Physician Employment Contract: Beware of the Non-Solicitation Clause

above-the-bar-logo.jpgAfter careful consideration, negotiation, and expense, your practice hired a new physician who you thought was going to work out perfect. Your practice spent considerable time and resources getting him admitting privileges to your hospitals, introduced him or her to your network of physicians, and your practice may even have sent all its new patients to him or her. It turns out that after evaluating your new recruits performance, your practice realized that he or she is not the right fit. For whatever reason, his or her one year employment agreement ends this summer and you need to discuss termination.

Terminating a physician’s employment contract can get as ugly as a divorce. As much time and effort as you may have spent, remember that your departing physician may also have made significant changes in his or her life when joining your practice. The departing physician may not be too happy having to search for new employment again. He or she may have started establishing roots in the community, purchased a home, and joined various organizations.

The employment contract is the best place to start. Refer back to the employment agreement and discuss what responsibilities each party must carry out to fulfill their contractual obligations. Most importantly, stay professional and keep it honest. Keep in mind that your patients’ medical care has to come first. Also keep in mind your practice’s reputation. A departing physician with an axe to grind can cause a lot of damage. Our attorneys can help you interpret the employment contract and make sure that its terms are complied with in a professional manner.

The non-solicitation provision in a physician employment agreement is one of the most important clauses which will impact the terminating physician’s future practice. The non-solicitation provision is put in by the basically to stop the leaving physician from taking any patients with him or her to the new practice. It’s purpose is to stop the physician form persuading, coercing, or influencing a patient to leave the current practice to obtain similar services from a competing practice.

A non-solicitation clause will not be enforced if it stops a doctor from soliciting any patient in any manner that he or she has seen in the practice. For example, it is solicitation where a physician knows that he is going to be leaving his current practice in 4 months and begins persuading every patient he sees in those last 4 months that he is leaving this practice because it doesn’t have state of the art equipment but his new practice located at Z Town in 4 months will have everything there as well as much better treatment there. However, it is not solicitation if a departing physician places an advertisement in the local paper advertising his new practice or sends out a mailing to a certain town.

Our attorneys have helped many practices minimize conflict and ensure a smooth and professional transition when they have decided to terminate their physician employment contract within a year. If things have not worked out the way you anticipated with your recent physician hire, call our Physician Employment Agreement Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you discuss your options.

Disclaimer: 

Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.