ACGME Policy: Restrictive Covenants and Intellectual Properties

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by 3dtp, May 28, 2008.

  1. 3dtp

    3dtp Senior Member
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    In reviewing a residency contract I came across a clause that I thought was a violation of ACGME institutional requirements. For years the ACGME has disallowed restrictive practice covenants in their residency contracts as an institutional requirement. This also applied to Intellectual properties, since the mission of residency is by necessity a scholarly endeavor. However, at some point in the last several years, the ACGME has dropped the restriction against IP assignment clauses from their institutional requirements.

    This concerns or should concern any resident who has ever created anything. It means that institutions now not ownly own your body and soul during residency, but every clever idea that you would like to publish or patent or even think about during your contract.

    Does anyone know exactly when the ACGME relaxed its prohibition on IP assignment clauses? Are they planning to drop the ban on restrictive covenents, too? I recall a case of a resident in Chicago who patented a concept while a resident, which her institution tried to steal, but ran afoul of the ACGME rules.
     
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  3. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite!
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    Most academic jobs include some clause about IP. If you're researching a new treatment for hair loss and it turns out to work really well, the university usually owns the patent. The basic rule of thumb (I think) is that if you develop something while at work, then your work owns the IP.

    I would assume the same was true in residency. If you think of a new surgical instrument while working in the OR, spend your research time developing and testing it, then the university owns the IP. If you spend your weekends and vacations working on this project in your basement and test it on your cat, then it's your's to market.

    If the invention is valuable enough, then people get greedy and argue about where and how it was developed.

    AFAIK, The restrictive covenant ban from the ACGME is here to stay -- else it could prevent a resident from opening a practice near where they trained.
     
  4. buckley

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    I don't understand. Exactly what is the restrictive covenant band? I am entering the US of the A! I sidelined as a resort physician, and I couldn't help but notice that my American patients were the ones who used the L word-- "lawyer". One guy who called me from the clinic to his hotel room told me, "I just want to let you know I have an excellent lawyer. Your credentials better be in order."
    If I wasn't an employee, I really just wanted to say, "Oh you have an excellent lawyer? Great...go ask him what pain meds you can take. I'm sure his credentials are in order."

    Sorry...got sidetracked---now about this restrictive covenant band? WHat are the other covenants I ought to know? Do I have to read the AMA guidelines or something? I am so embarassed to say I had to search what in the world an ACGME, or a HIPAA is or a JCAHO? How do you pronounce those anyway?...Do you spell it out or say it? Like "Heeeepaaah"? Yes, my role right now is to be the one asking the dumb questions every IMG starting residency would like to know. :oops:
     
  5. ACGME = "A C G M E"
    HIPAA = "HIP-uh"
    JCAHO = "JAY-coe"
     
  6. RTrain

    RTrain National Merit Finalist
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    Agree with Blade28 regarding those infamous acronyms.

    As for the restrictive covenant ban (as opposed to band ;)): Restrictive covenants are clauses in contracts restricting what your practice can be during and after the term of the contract. Specifically targeted here is a "non-compete clause" (a form of restrictive covenant), which says that after the end of your contract, you cannot practice within a certain number of miles or in a certain geographic area or whatever, in order to prevent you directly competing with the organization with whom you were previously employed.

    The ACGME specifically disallows that sort of clause in a residency contract, so that once a resident completes his/her training, s/he can gain a fellowship or join or set up a practice anywhere s/he would like, including across the street from his/her former PD. So that is what is meant by the "restrictive covenant ban." :)
     
  7. buckley

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    Now, where in heavens did I get that "d" ? :oops: thank God for anonymity...I swear, I'm not as stupid as I seem :laugh: (I realize this may herald a "maybe more?" comeback...hehehe) Disclaimer!!! Teeheehee...
    Thanks for the pronunciation key and the explanation :thumbup: I think it's only right that a resident shouldn't be banned from practicing in the place where he/she did training. I always thought it's called "residency" because you "live" in the hospital. So it's kinda home turf. Where else would you get your patient base?


    "jay-coe...jay-coe...jay-coe..." Practicing it right now...:p
     
  8. aProgDirector

    aProgDirector Pastafarians Unite!
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    Don't practice too much. JCAHO has now renamed itself The Joint Commission (or JC)
     
  9. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    Gives a whole new meaning to "WWJCD"?:D
     
  10. buckley

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    Okay, will be swallowing my pride and say I have no idea what that is...
    JCAHO= old version of JC. Got it. Whew! My program is making us do all these online tutorials. It makes me realize just how structured hospitals are in the US. Pretty amazing actually. I never thought I would have to deal with "corporate compliance" and "code oranges." This would definitely be a learning experience...
     
  11. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    "WWJD" = "What would Jesus do?" I have also seen it as WWJCD adding Christ in there. You know America is a bit puritanical.:D
     
  12. buckley

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    I find it hard to determine America's stand on religion. I think it's because it's such a melting pot. I did not find it puritan at all, though :) I was under the impression (hasty generalization based on watching your tv shows) that it is a very materialistic atheist culture, but was quite dumb struck to see quite a number of really spiritual people, some bordering on scary spiritual. And the variety of religions there? Whoa...there's even that polygamy cult thing, right?

    Ok...i'll stop hijacking the thread now. Is it obvious I have way too much time now that I'm just fixing my visa?
     
  13. Pinkertinkle

    Pinkertinkle 2003 Member
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    What are you gonna patent anyway? Method for Avoiding Work in Post Graduate Medical Education?
     
  14. 3dtp

    3dtp Senior Member
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    Does it matter? At one time, the ACGME felt it important enough to ban IP clauses. You are being paid next to nothing to "earn" the privilege, while working your tail off. If you come up with a novel idea to make your and your patient's life easier and someone is willing to buy it, shouldn't you have the right to prosecute the patent, since, as the hospitals are so fond of asserting, you are not an employee, but a "trainee" and it is not a job, but education?

    What patents I have, you are free to buy, if you have enough money, or you can buy the product if it isi useful to you and I will happily deposit the royalty check.
     

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