We have previously discussed the fact that non-compete provisions often appear in contracts with healthcare providers. Typically, a group medical practice hires a new physician with a contract which prevents the new doctor from leaving the group and moving across town and opening his/her own private practice.
Here is a new twist on the story and it involves a dispute between a neonatologist and a hospital owned by HCA in Kansas City. A neonatologist is a pediatric doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders in newborns. Neonatologist William Topper filed the lawsuit and alleges that HCA Midwest prematurely terminated his contract last month without cause because it wanted to replace him with another neonatologist.
The lawsuit alleges that besides conspiring with the other physician to interfere with Topper’s contract, HCA Midwest officials made false and misleading statements about Topper. The lawsuit also alleges that HCA Midwest will attempt to enforce the non-compete clause the terminated contract, which prevent him from working at other hospitals in the Kansas City area. Dr. Topper believes the non-compete represented an unlawful restraint on commerce. In my book, Dr. Topper is right on point!