Last Updated: May 6, 2021
UPDATE: We’ve received some questions and comments from members regarding HB 681. PAMED provides clarification on what the bill would and wouldn’t do, and clears up some confusion about the bill’s language in this summary.
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For many lawmakers, the issue of restrictive covenants is about making a choice between hospitals protecting their turf and physicians’ ability to move freely in a particular area or region. But what this is really about is patients.
Like any employee, physicians may choose to leave employment for a whole host of reasons. But when they do leave a particular facility and are required to leave the area as a result of a restrictive covenant, patients lose access to a health
care provider that they have an established relationship with, oftentimes for many years. For patients, this change can be both clinically and emotionally disruptive.
No one knows better than physicians how restrictive covenants can negatively impact patient care. It is imperative that lawmakers hear this from physicians in their community – both hospital employed physicians and those practicing independently.
Speak Up to Stop the Patient-Physician Relationship from Being Fractured
HB 681, which is awaiting final consideration and a vote by the Pa. House of Representatives, will ensure that hospitals will no longer be able to stand between patients and their physicians, and physicians will gain the freedom to practice where
they choose. The over-arching intent of the bill is to address health care practitioner shortages and continuity of care for patients.
Hospital administrators will be voicing their opposition to HB 681 to legislators across the state, expressing concern that removing restrictive covenants will put them at a competitive disadvantage. Legislators need to hear how these restrictive
contracts erode physician freedoms and disrupt the physician-patient relationship.
Please take a few minutes to share your concerns about restrictive covenants with your elected Representative and ask that they support HB 681. It’s time to level the playing field between dominant hospitals and health systems and physicians.
If you don’t speak up, the only voices legislators will hear will be those from hospital leadership.
While HB 681 is potentially poised to pass the House of Representatives, its fate in the Senate is unknown. Much depends on what committee the bill is referred to in the Senate. So, it’s important that you also talk to your State Senator
about the importance of passing this legislation.
- The legislation was originally introduced as an outright prohibition against the use of restrictive covenants, more colloquially known as non-compete clauses, in health care practitioner employment contacts within Pennsylvania.
- However, both the bill sponsor, Representative Ecker and House Health Committee Chairwoman Rapp provided the opportunity to work out compromised language as an amendment to the bill. This compromise was offered by House Health Committee Chairman
Frankel and sought to protect the interests of both employers and practitioner employees according to PAMED policy.
- With the offered compromised amendment, the legislation advanced out of the House Health Committee by a vote of 24-1. Having advanced past both first and second consideration in the Pa. House of Representatives, HB 681 is now awaiting final consideration
and passage in the House.