Dickinson Wright attorney Kim Ruppel recently participated in The Risky Health Care Business Podcast, where she and host Scott Nelson delved into the intricate world of noncompetes and their ramifications for both health care professionals and organizations. This article encapsulates the insights from that conversation.

Understanding Noncompete Agreements

Noncompete agreements have long been a fixture in employment contracts, aiming to safeguard employers’ interests by restricting employees from joining or starting competing entities within a defined geographic area and timeframe after leaving their current job. For health care providers, these agreements play a crucial role in protecting sensitive information, patient lists, and proprietary business strategies.

The FTC’s Game-Changing Decision

On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) made a groundbreaking decision to finalize a new rule prohibiting employers from enforcing noncompetes against workers, except for senior policy-making executives. This ruling marks a significant shift in the legal landscape, impacting millions of American workers, including a substantial portion of health care professionals.

Implications for Health Care Professionals and Organizations

The FTC’s decision has sparked intense debate within the health care industry. Proponents argue that noncompetes stifle career progression, limit patient choice, and impede competition, ultimately driving up health care costs. On the other hand, critics, including the American Hospital Association, raise concerns about potential disruptions to patient care and community well-being.

Navigating the Gray Areas

As the health care industry grapples with the implications of the FTC’s ruling, both individuals and organizations face uncertainty. While the ruling aims to promote fairness and competition, its broad scope and open-ended provisions raise questions about enforcement and interpretation. Organizations must adapt their strategies to comply with evolving regulations while protecting their interests and maintaining a competitive edge.

Looking Ahead

Despite the uncertainty surrounding noncompete agreements, proactive measures can help mitigate risks and safeguard both individuals and organizations. From implementing confidentiality agreements and nondisclosure agreements to exploring alternative solutions, such as no-poach agreements, stakeholders must stay informed, anticipate challenges, and adapt to the evolving legal landscape.


As the health care industry navigates the shifting tides of regulation and competition, the conversation around noncompete agreements continues to evolve. With insights from trusted health care attorneys, professionals, and organizations can navigate these complexities with confidence, ensuring a balance between protecting business interests and fostering a competitive, innovative environment for patient care. Remember, in the dynamic world of health care, creativity is key to accelerating performance and driving positive outcomes for patients and providers alike.

To listen to the full podcast episode and explore more resources on health care risk management, visit the SpringParker website.

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About the Author:

Kimberly Ruppel serves as Chair of Dickinson Wright, PLLC’s Telehealth Task Force and also leads as Chair of the Healthcare Litigation Task Force. With more than 20 years of experience as a commercial litigator, Kim specializes in representing healthcare providers, insurers, and benefit plans. Her experience encompasses healthcare contract litigations, licensing and regulatory disputes, governmental fraud and abuse investigations, HIPAA compliance counseling, and insurance claims and coverage disputes.

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