Frankel, Venkat: House passes bill to bar noncompete agreements in health care employment

Would end practice that hurts providers, disrupts doctor-patient relationships

HARRISBURG, April 17 – The PA House today passed legislation introduced by state Reps. Dan Frankel and Arvind Venkat that would prohibit medical employers from using restrictive noncompete agreements that prevent doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who leave a job from practicing elsewhere.

The lawmakers, both D-Allegheny, said they introduced H.B. 1633 to end an unfair practice that limits options for providers, disrupts patients’ long-term relationships with their trusted physicians and makes it more difficult for Pennsylvania to attract talented medical professionals.

“This legislation deals with employment contracts for health care providers, but it’s really about patient care – it protects the long-term patient-care giver relationship that builds trust and improves outcomes,” said Frankel, who is majority chairman of the House Health Committee. “We know it’s not always easy to find the right health care provider, and it’s important that our laws not interfere with your ability to maintain that crucial relationship.”

Venkat said, “As a physician-legislator, I know that noncompete covenants unnecessarily restrict patient access to the clinician of their choice and make Pennsylvania a less desirable place for health professionals to practice. I am proud to have worked with Representative Frankel to pass this bipartisan legislation through the state House to improve patient access in our commonwealth.”

The lawmakers noted that Pennsylvania is part of a minority of states that have no laws on the books limiting the use of noncompete agreements, which can apply even when a professional’s contract is not renewed and can be so restrictive that they can force doctors, nurses and physicians’ assistants to leave the profession or state for up to two years and prevent them from telling patients where they have gone.

The bill passed with a strong bipartisan majority and now heads to the state Senate for consideration.