May 18, 2023

Eskenazi Medical Group to free all physicians from non-competes, going further than new state ban

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The memo outlines a process for physicians to sign an amendment to their contracts to remove the non-compete and other related provisions by June 30.  - Pixabay

The memo outlines a process for physicians to sign an amendment to their contracts to remove the non-compete and other related provisions by June 30.

Pixabay

An Indiana medical employer internally announced that it will free all current and future doctors from non-compete agreements. This step goes well beyond the new partial non-compete ban in state law, which hasn't taken effect yet.

Under SEA 7, Indiana will soon start banning employers from putting some doctors under non-compete agreements. Any non-competes created before July 2023 are unaffected by the ban. And it only prohibits the agreements for primary care doctors, not those in other specialties like podiatry or gynecology.

Yet, the Eskenazi Medical Group (EMG) told its more than 100 physicians in an internal memo that non-compete agreements will be stripped out of all of the group’s employment contracts. This includes non-primary care doctors and those employed before the ban’s effective date. That goes further than the law.

The author of the memo is Dr. Curtis Wright, president and CEO of EMG. A spokesperson confirmed in an email that the memo is real and said Wright is unavailable for an interview at this time. Wright did not explain the rationale for the change beyond the law in the memo.

READ MORE: Non-competes on primary care doctors will be banned. Other specialists get new potential routes out

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The memo outlines a process for physicians to sign an amendment to their contracts to remove the non-compete and other related provisions by June 30.

The spokesperson said EMG’s physicians are mostly in primary care, but a portion of them work in other specialties too. The group also employs administrators, nurse practitioners and others, the spokesperson said, but they aren’t affected by the change because they never had non-competes to begin with.

The non-profit medical group is somewhat separate from the Eskenazi Health system, despite sharing a name and being “solely aligned” with each other.

According to EMG’s website, it is Indiana’s “sixth largest” medical group and one of the “most diverse” in the nation “employing three to four times the national average of Latino providers and two-and-a-half times the national average of African American providers.”

Eskenazi Health does not directly employ any doctors. All its providers either come from the Eskenazi Medical Group or IU Health Physicians, another medical group. The Eskenazi spokesperson confirmed the vast majority come from the latter.

It’s not clear what, if any, plans IU Health Physicians for its contracts beyond what will be required by the law. Indiana Public Broadcasting has reached out for comment.

Indiana Public Radio’s Stephanie Wiechmann contributed reporting to this story.

Adam is our labor and employment reporter. Contact him at arayes@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @arayesIPB.

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