Provided by: Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
May 11, 2017
Many patients develop preferences for hygienists and even some dental assistants. Is it appropriate that I have my employees sign an agreement to not solicit patients or other employees should they quit or be terminated?
Absolutely. You have spent time, money and energy on building your practice. It is your livelihood; an asset. Why would you not protect it? Your patient following and goodwill IS the practice. If you have service providers with patient contact you believe are capable of forging lasting relationships, and a following, it would be foolish not to require contractual protections for your benefit. This can be accomplished (as best course) through direct contracting, and should be done upfront - at the start of the relationship. "I'll pay you this for this work, and you agree to these protections for me as the employer." If we missed that opportunity, we can still direct contract and document what you're giving and expecting, OR we can accomplish by policy. We can adopt an employee handbook or confidentiality policy we require the staff to sign off on.
Regardless, you aren't being paranoid - you are being protective. There is a big difference!
Happy to discuss offline further. As with most topics - there is not a "one solution" for all. The right path will depend on how you operate and what your tolerance is for paperwork and process... Every employer is different...
Side note - I hope all employees have already signed off on HIPAA protections in favor of the Practice...