Noncompete Clauses

A Message from AAEM’s President

“Stay in the Fight” – AAEM President’s Message from March/April 2023 Common Sense

In the last month or so, I feel like I’ve spent nearly as much time talking with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and various reporters as I have with patients and consultants. I must admit that this did take a little getting used to and at times I was not entirely thrilled to receive word that yet another reporter with yet another news organization wanted an interview for their story on non-competes, and by the way, the deadline is in four hours. However, this is obviously great!

This is a sign of progress for the Academy. Ever since the founding of the Academy, the inappropriateness of non-compete clauses in emergency physician contracts has been core to our mission. Now non-physicians care too. It is exciting, energizing, and makes one optimistic. For decades, we have fought to bring issues vital to the sustained practice of emergency medicine into the public sphere.

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AAEM Efforts

AAEM Letter in Support of the FTC Proposed Rule to Ban Noncompete Clauses

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) fully supports the Federal Trade Committee’s (FTC) proposed rule to ban noncompete clauses and appreciates the opportunity to comment. AAEM is the specialty society for board-certified emergency physicians, representing over 8,000 members across the nation. We enthusiastically agree with the FTC that the freedom to change jobs is core to economic liberty and that noncompete clauses, particularly for hospital base physicians such as emergency physicians, hamper innovation and endanger patient safety.

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Joint Letter to the White House on Emergency Department Boarding

There is no question that Americans have suffered great loss of life and endured financial hardships, across all sectors, over the past 32 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontline healthcare workers risked their lives, provided care during physically and emotionally demanding situations, and bore witness to their patients’ goodbyes to loved ones from afar.

Yet, in recent months, hospital emergency departments (EDs) have been brought to a breaking point. Not from a novel problem – rather, from a decades-long,1 unresolved problem known as patient “boarding,” where admitted patients are held in the ED when there are no inpatient beds available. While the causes of ED boarding are multifactorial, unprecedented and rising staffing shortages throughout the health care system have recently brought this issue to a crisis point, further spiraling the stress and burnout driving the current exodus of excellent physicians, nurses and other health care professionals.

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“Restrictive Covenants” by Larry D. Weiss, MD JD MAAEM FAAEM

Excerpt from Rules of the Road for Young Emergency Physicians

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) opposes the use of post-contractual restrictive covenants, or “non-compete clauses,” in physician contracts. A restrictive covenant provides that, upon termination of a professional contract, a physician may not work in a defined geographical location for a specific period of time. In such a circumstance, if a contract-holder terminates a professional contract, the physician may have to sell his home and move his family if he wants to continue practicing his profession.

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Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

FTC Proposes Rule to Ban Noncompete Clauses, Which Hurt Workers and Harm Competition

The Federal Trade Commission proposed a new rule that would ban employers from imposing noncompetes on their workers, a widespread and often exploitative practice that suppresses wages, hampers innovation, and blocks entrepreneurs from starting new businesses. By stopping this practice, the agency estimates that the new proposed rule could increase wages by nearly $300 billion per year and expand career opportunities for about 30 million Americans.

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FTC Forum on Examining the Proposed Rule to Ban Noncompete Clauses 

February 16, 2023

FTC and Justice Department Listening Forum on Firsthand Effects of Mergers and Acquisitions: Health Care

April 14, 2022

Media Coverage