Former employees say Epic's noncompetes suppress wages, stifle innovation

Some former Epic employees say the EHR vendor's noncompete agreements have held them back from advancing their careers and stifled innovation in the Madison, Wis., area, Isthmus reported June 1.

Epic bars staffers from working for about 4,500 organizations — including health systems, physician groups and payers — for a year after leaving the company, according to the story. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed banning noncompetes and similar employment clauses, saying they suppress wages by about $300 billion a year; several public comments to the FTC have cited Epic's policy as a reason the agency should do so.

"Between the noncompete and all-efforts clauses, Epic makes it basically impossible for people to launch a healthcare startup," former employee Aris Blevins told the news outlet. "I'm sure Madison would prefer it if Epic were more like Microsoft in Seattle. You don't see that around here, and there's a reason: Epic."

He told Isthmus he was fired from La Crosse, Wis.-based Gundersen Health System five weeks into the job last year after Epic objected to his employment there. Gundersen didn't respond to the newspaper's requests for comment.

"Our employee agreements help us protect our intellectual property," an Epic spokesperson told the news outlet. "Our agreements say that after employees leave Epic, they can work anywhere they wish as long as, for a certain period of time, the work they're doing doesn’t involve Epic software."

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