In a previous blog note, I commented about the restraints placed on hospital employees working on Epic projects who might subsequently wish to be employed by an EHR consulting firm (see: Epic's Non-Compete Clauses Help Hospitals Deploying Epic Software). Here's a quote from it:
Epic and their hospital customers employ powerful tools to keep current IT personnel working on an Epic project from bailing out. According to Mr. HIStalk: Epic controls your opportunities with potential employers via separate agreements and/or implied punishment for poaching Epic-certified people. Both Epic and their hospital customers have a vested interest in keeping hospital IT personnel in their current jobs -- getting the system installed. This, of course, can work against the interests of the employee who, having been trained, may want to change cities or respond to an offer for higher pay. Also and for many hospitals, an install can go on for a prolonged period of time.
Mr. HIStalk now provides us with more details from a would-be hospital consultant ("Epic pawn") who provides details about the contract that Epic wanted him or her to sign (see: Monday Morning Update 11/5/12). Below are the details from from the HIStalk blog note:
From Epic Pawn: “Re: Epic. The contract they sent me for the privilege of consulting with one of their clients will require me to end my HIT career!”
- Apparently a hospital can’t hire a consultant to help with Epic until that person signs a lengthy contract with Epic.
- If the consultant develops any kind of enhancement to Epic software and doesn’t sign over the rights to the hospital, the enhancement is automatically owned by Epic.
- You are obligated to report anyone you know who has accessed anything related to Epic without authorization, even if you didn’t have anything to do with their access.
- You can’t hire or contract with a former Epic employee until they’ve sat out a one-year waiting period.
- You can hire an Epic customer’s project team employee only if you don’t assign them any Epic-related work for two years, and they are considered to be a project team employee until three months after go-live.
- Your employees can’t perform any activities that compete with Epic – design, sales, consulting — for two years after they leave your employment.
- You agree that Epic is a third-party beneficiary of the agreement your employees must sign, which gives Epic a right to enforce the agreement even though those people don’t work for Epic.
- You agree that any legal actions will be heard in Wisconsin courts. I’m sure there’s more, but it’s a long read and I’m getting numb.
Not much wiggle room here. I'm no lawyer but one wonders if all of this is within the letter of the law. But who is going to complain? Certainly not Epic and certainly not the hospitals, both beneficiaries of the Epic contracts. And probably not most of the consulting firms working on Epic hospital projects who are being well compensated. The only ones left out in the cold are the would-be consultants who may balk at signing Epic's restrictive contracts.