Some Eskenazi doctors freed from non-competes, most unaffected
Some physicians working at Eskenazi Health will be freed from existing non-compete agreements by the end of the month. But, the majority of physicians at Eskenazi Health won’t see any change — at least for now.
Under SEA 7, Indiana will soon start banning employers from putting some doctors under non-compete agreements. Any non-competes created before July 2023 are unaffected. And it only prohibits the agreements for primary care doctors, not those in other specialties like podiatry or gynecology.
In May, Indiana Public Broadcasting reported the Eskenazi Medical Group (EMG) told staff in a memo it will remove non-competes from the employment contracts of its nearly 150 physicians by June 30 in anticipation of the new law.
The author of the memo is Dr. Curtis Wright, president and CEO of EMG. A spokesperson confirmed in an email that the memo is real and said Wright is unavailable for an interview at this time. Wright did not explain the rationale for the change beyond the law in the memo.
90 of the physicians employed by EMG are primary care doctors, but they are all already employed by the group — meaning they would all not be covered by the new ban. The other 50 doctors EMG employs that are specialists would also not be covered by the ban.
So, by freeing all of them from non-competes, EMG is going well beyond what the new law requires with a change that will affect all 140 of the group’s doctors.
It's not clear if this move will shift the employment landscape for doctors in the state. So far, EMG's decision hasn't resulted in similar changes for at least one other major medical group with close ties.
The non-profit Eskenazi Medical Group is somewhat separate from the Eskenazi Health system, despite sharing a name and being “solely aligned” with each other.
Eskenazi Health does not directly employ any doctors. All its providers either come from the Eskenazi Medical Group or IU Health Physicians, another medical group. The Eskenazi spokesperson confirmed the vast majority of doctors serving patients through the health system come from the latter.
An IU Health Physicians spokesperson confirmed in an email the group has no public plans to strip out non-compete requirements not banned by the new law. So, for now, the status quo remains for a majority of doctors at Eskenazi Health.
“IU Health will comply with the new version of the law,” Brian Kremer, chief operating officer, IU Health Physicians, said in an emailed statement. “We will continue to evaluate this topic and its impact on IU Health’s ability to make Indiana one of the nation’s healthiest states.”
Along with providing doctors to serve patients at Eskenazi Health, IU Health Physicians also employs the physicians that work at the health system it shares a name with, IU Health. The statement suggests things also won’t change for all the doctors not covered by the ban at IU Health’s over 600 locations statewide.