New Gopal Bill Addresses Shortage of Medical Workers

OCEAN TOWNSHIP - Legislation introduced by Senator Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) this Monday aims to prevent a shortage of medical providers due to COVID-19 by prohibiting a hospital from including a non-compete clause in a contract with a nurse or doctor who leaves that hospital to work for a group of fewer than 30 doctors, such as an independent practice or small physician group.

Under this bill (S2435), covenants in a contract or agreement that creates or establishes the terms of a partnership, employment, or other form of professional relationship that restrict the ability of a physician or nurse to practice in a geographic area for any period of time after termination of the partnership, employment, or professional relationship, will be deemed void and unenforceable.

In addition, the bill provides that it will not invalidate restrictive covenants that prohibit a physician from leaving a hospital system or a group practice comprising 30 or more physicians to join any other hospital system or group practice comprising 30 or more physicians within a given geographic area. This exception will not apply only to nursing contracts.