ACC Submits Comments to FTC on Non-Compete Proposed Rule

The ACC submitted feedback on April 3 to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on its proposed rule regarding the use, maintenance and representation of non-compete clauses as an unfair method of competition, including how it may impact cardiovascular clinicians.

"The FTC's proposed rule regarding non-compete clauses is a topic that has the potential to impact every cardiovascular professional in the U.S. and their ability to serve their patients,” said ACC President B. Hadley Wilson, MD, FACC. “Without a doubt, this proposal created strong feelings across our membership. During this process, members throughout the College provided key insights to ensure our comments to the FTC were as informed as possible, with optimization of patient care as our guiding principle. We greatly appreciate and thank the Board of Governors, Health Affairs Committee, key ACC section councils and staff for their work on this important topic."

As part of its comments, the ACC noted that industry surveys show a majority of cardiologists are subject to non-negotiable non-compete clauses. It goes on to highlight that while some of the principles inherent in non-compete clauses may have a useful role in protecting the remaining private medical practices if implemented in a fair and logical manner, non-compete clauses can also:

  • Restrict patient access to diverse or preferred physicians and caregivers
  • Cause interruption of care to patients with complex and/or chronic conditions which, especially in cardiology cases, can have serious negative impacts on patient outcomes
  • Stifle innovation, which is detrimental to patient care
  • Have adverse effects on physicians work life, including practice autonomy, workplace culture, burnout, etc. For example, due to the number of locations and onerous non-compete clauses of many large health/hospital systems, the letter cautions that physicians would potentially have to move out of their home state or even region of the country to seek new employment

View the full letter here. For more information, access a previous news story on the proposed rule.

Clinical Topics: Prevention, Stress

Keywords: Cardiology, Workplace, Employment, Burnout, Psychological, Wetlands, Stifle, Caregivers, Feedback, Cardiologists, United States Federal Trade Commission, ACC Advocacy

< Back to Listings