Why noncompetes are 'worthless' to Dr. Nicholas Grosso

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In his time at Bethesda, Md.-based Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, Nicholas Grosso, MD, has found physician exits to be rare.  

Dr. Grosso, president of the orthopedic group, said the practice doesn't demand noncompete clauses in their physician contracts. For other physicians, noncompetes have caused rifts, and many have advocated for an outright ban on them. 

Dr. Grosso spoke with Becker's about why he dislikes noncompetes.

Note: This conversation was lightly edited for clarity.

Question: The FTC is set to make a decision on the proposed ban on noncompetes. What would a noncompete mean for independent orthopedic groups like yours? What would be the upsides and downsides?

Dr. Nicholas Grosso: Personally, I don't like non-competes. I've been with my practice for the last 22 years, and we've had two or three guys leave. We've never enforced a noncompete. We're not going to make a guy move out of state. I think noncompetes are worthless, to be quite honest with you. 

The reason why noncompetes exist is because what practices don't want to see happen is they hire someone out of training. They put a lot of money into building a practice, and then the physician goes across the street and sets up a practice. We're smart guys. Our lawyers are smart. They'll come up with some other way, whether it's a clawback provision in their bonuses or something to make it fair. There would have to be some new contract clause that says if you leave within a certain amount of time, you've got to pay us back a certain amount of what we paid you up front.

I wish they would outlaw noncompetes, because we run into noncompete problems. We have a lot of physicians who are hospital employees or PE group employees who are exceedingly unhappy and want to come join CAO, and we can't take them because they're being held back by their noncompete clauses. 

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