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Factors to consider when switching physician practices in Florida

Physicians covered by noncompete agreements (NCA) often ask their attorneys if they can take on a new job without violating the terms of their previous contract. A doctor who intends to join a practice in the same geographic region should sit down with a contract attorney to ascertain if their new job would breach their existing NCA.

If you're looking to jump ship at your current job, then it's ideal if you have a copy of your NCA for your attorney to reference. If you don't and you were to ask them for a copy of it, then it could raise red flags that you're looking to leave their practice.

Physicians looking to work for another practice in the same geographic area should keep in mind that the distance listed in most NCAs doesn't refer to driving distance. It's supposed to be taken instead as "as the crow flies." While the likelihood that a former employer may sue a physician for a breach of contract if they rely on driving distance versus something else is low, they legitimately could.

Some practices have their new doctors sign a statement acknowledging that they're not in violation of their NDA before entering into a new contract. They do this to protect themselves from being sued for violating the NCA.

Physicians and practices alike may ultimately move forward with their employment relationship, even if it potentially violates the NCA. They'll often do this if the enforcement radius that's being encroached upon is less than one-half a mile. This also frequently occurs if either party suspects that the other won't enforce the terms of the NCA.

Practices that plan to relocate a physician to another area often take their chances and temporarily violate an NCA in hopes neither the doctor nor themselves will get sued.

There are risks that physicians take when they willfully violate the terms of their NCA. You run the risk of potentially having to pay a financial settlement to your former Florida employer for having violated it or in exchange for getting out from under it. You also put your new job in jeopardy if you or your current practice get sued by your former Melbourne employer for violating the NCA.

A breach of contract attorney can review your NCA and advise you as to whether your new job may expose you to being sued for having violated it.

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