The buzz about "accountable care organizations" and the renewed empasis on better coordination of care, discussed more here, is expected to lead to a significant increase in hospitals employing physicians who practice in the community. For a thorough discussion of various legal and practice issues, see Leigh Walton, et al., Hospitals Employing Physicians, 22(2) Health Lawyer 1 (Dec. 2009).
If licensed physicians can't be employed (absent an exception), what about other licensed health professionals? And, what about one type of professional employing another type? That question went all the way to the Washington Supreme Court, which held that the corporate practice doctrine also applies to physical therapists and so there is a prima facie violation when they are employed, even by a physician group, but the physician group met the statutory exception for a professional corporation (PC). Even though the PC statute requires all the employed professionals to be part of the same profession, because physical therapy falls under the broader ambit of the "practice of medicine," the exception applied. Whew! Columbia Physical Therapy Inc. v. Benton Franklin Orthopedic Associates PLLC, ______ (Wash. 2010).Proposing that the AMA ban restrictive covenants for doctors, as the ABA has done for lawyers, see Robert Steinbuch, Why doctors shouldn't practice law: the American Medical Association's misdiagnosis of physician non-compete clauses, 74 Mo. L. Rev. 1051-1082 (2009).
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