Tennessee lawmakers consider reinstating noncompete clauses

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 24, 2006

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The Tennessee General Assembly is pushing to bring back noncompete agreements after a state Supreme Court decision in June 2005 invalidated the contracts because they restricted patients' rights to choose their physicians.

A joint bill that would allow medical practices to restrict physicians from competing with the group for two years after the employment contract expires passed committees in the House and Senate this month. The bill now awaits the full approval of each chamber.

The prohibitions would apply to whichever is greater: an area within a 10-mile radius, or within the county in which the medical group is located.

The Tennessee Medical Assn. has taken a neutral position on the bill, said Russ Miller, TMA senior vice president. "We feel it is a reasonable approach to handling noncompete clauses," he said, adding that they appear to be in line with American Medical Association guidelines, and state law allowing the agreements with hospital- or faculty-based physicians.

AMA policy "discourages" noncompete contracts that are "excessive in geographic scope or duration." Such agreements "restrict competition, disrupt continuity of care and potentially deprive the public of medical services," the policy states.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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