FTC Finalizes Ban on Non-Compete Agreements

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a final rule on April 23 banning non-compete agreements nationwide. There are exceptions to the ban, including nonprofits, which fall outside the agency’s purview, and current senior executives in “policymaking roles” making more than $151,164 annually.

This rule is expected to have a significant impact on health care as many clinicians in the U.S. are contractually bound by non-compete agreements. According to the FTC, banning non-competes will result in reduced health care costs – specifically an estimated $74-$194 billion reduction in spending on physician services over the next decade.

The ACC submitted written comments to the agency last year, noting that a majority of cardiologists are subject to non-negotiable non-compete clauses, which can restrict patient access to preferred clinicians, interrupt care for patients with complex chronic conditions and have adverse effects on clinician well-being. The ACC will continue to advocate for its members who are adversely impacted by these unfair contractual agreements as the final rule is contested by legal challenges. For more information on the final rule, access the FTC press release and fact sheet.

While implementation of the final rule is tied up in the courts, the ACC and its Chapters continue to engage lawmakers at the state level to push for reform on this issue. Addressing non-compete agreements and their negative impact on cardiovascular clinicians has been a priority for several ACC State Chapters. Most recently, ACC members have advocated against non-compete agreements in Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota and New York for either comprehensive bans or tailored legislation specific to the health care industry.

With the FTC’s rule drawing nationwide attention to the issue, the ACC Advocacy team anticipates more states will see legislative efforts to address non-compete clauses and is prepared to help members advocate for themselves and their colleagues. ACC members can contact Michael Lawrence on the ACC’s State Government Affairs team to learn how to get involved. 

Keywords: Health Care Costs, Delivery of Health Care, Cardiologists, Health Care Sector, United States Federal Trade Commission, ACC Advocacy

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