Competition among physicians is ethically justifiable when it is based on such factors as quality of services, skill, experience, conveniences offered to patients, fees, or credit terms.
Covenants-not-to-compete restrict competition, can disrupt continuity of care, and may limit access to care.
Physicians should not enter into covenants that:
(a) Unreasonably restrict the right of a physician to practice medicine for a specified period of time or in a specified geographic area on termination of a contractual relationship; and
(b) Do not make reasonable accommodation for patients’ choice of physician.
Physicians in training should not be asked to sign covenants not to compete as a condition of entry into any residency or fellowship program.
AMA Principles of Medical Ethics: III,IV,VI,VII
The Opinions in this chapter are offered as ethics guidance for physicians and are not intended to establish standards of clinical practice or rules of law.