Optum forgoes physician noncompetes at Oregon medical group

Optum's Eugene-based Oregon Medical Group will not enforce noncompete agreements for any departing physicians or advanced practice providers, ABC-affiliate KEZI reported May 10.

In March, the medical group dropped some patients due to a lack of available physicians, 32 of whom have departed from the organization over the last two years. Oregon Medical Group was purchased by Optum in 2020.

"As is the case across the healthcare industry, when a physician departs, we notify impacted patients and do our best to transfer their care to other providers," an Optum spokesperson told The Oregonian at the time. "The health and well-being of our patients is our top priority, and we are working with patients to ensure they have access to high-quality care."

Along with the decision to not enforce noncompete clauses, Optum also said prescription medication refill requests will be fulfilled by Oregon Medical Group. 

"I am relieved that Optum is listening to our constituents and making the right choice," state Rep. Nancy Nathanson told KEZI. "We must ensure that Oregonians have no lapses in access to the care or life-saving medicines that they need. I am grateful to those constituents who contacted me so that I could convey the real impacts caused by this disruption of care."

In April, the Federal Trade Commission voted 3-2 to ban noncompete agreements across all industries in a move it estimates will save up to $194 billion in healthcare costs over the next decade. The ban is not effective until 120 days after it is published in the federal register.

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