Is PA Getting Closer to Eliminating Noncompetes for Health Care Practitioners?

Senate Bill 1358, otherwise known as the Health Care Practitioner Noncompete Act, was introduced Monday, October 18, 2022 to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and is scheduled for a committee hearing October 19, 2022. This legislation is intended to help retain health care practitioners in the Commonwealth and maintain continuity of care, particularly for those in rural areas, by prohibiting the enforcement of certain noncompete agreements entered into by a healthcare professional. It is similar to House Bill 681, which was introduced earlier this year and was never scheduled for a vote, despite it appearing on the House Calendar.

SB 1358’s key components include the following:

  • Makes the enforcement of a noncompete covenant void and unenforceable by an employer if the healthcare practitioner is terminated without cause;
  • Requires that within 45 days of the departure of a healthcare practitioner from employment, whether for cause or without cause, the employer would be required to notify patients and to provide patients with a choice of remaining with the practitioner or being assigned to a new practitioner within the healthcare system or private practice;
  • Applies to new employment agreements, amendments of existing agreements and renewals of the healthcare practitioner’s license; and
  • Makes noncompetes only applicable to a healthcare practitioner’s primary office/practice location (i.e., more than 50% of the practitioner’s provision of care)

With the handful of legislative days left at this point, the likelihood of either of these bills passing is de-minimus (at best). That being said, SB 1358, as a bi-partisan effort, was most likely introduced to test the waters in the Senate. Don’t be surprised to see both bills re-introduced in the 2023-2024 legislative session.