Nationwide uniform doctor fees?

Fee negotiations between doctors and health insurers: The German Medical Association advocates uniform nationwide doctor fees.

Today the fee negotiations take place between medical representatives and health insurance companies. In advance, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Vice President of the German Medical Association, campaigned for nationwide uniform tariffs for doctors.

Before the negotiations on the tariffs of the statutory health insurance physicians began, the deputy head of the German Medical Association advocated introducing uniform doctors' fees. Montgomery told Rheinische Post: "Legislators must ensure that the same medical treatment in North Rhine-Westphalia is not paid less than in Bavaria." The pressure is increasing and the representatives of the umbrella organizations are encouraged to find a solution. At the end of the collective bargaining negotiations, the total amount of the fees of the approximately 150,000 doctors in the till system must be known for the next year.

Negotiations had failed just a week ago because the positions are completely different. But now the federal government reacted and asked both parties to return to the negotiating table. Otherwise, the Federal Ministry of Health would set the tariffs. It is only because of the pressure that has been built up that the top representatives have to make compromises, otherwise they will run out of time.

In the past year 2009, fees for statutory health insurance physicians rose by an average of 6.3 percent to 30.8 million euros. The statutory health insurance companies had repeatedly stressed that a zero round was necessary due to the financial situation of the health system. However, the health insurers had to give up their position now, because the health care reform allowed doctors to increase their fees. However, the Federal Ministry of Health had not given any concrete figures, so negotiations are necessary. The German Medical Association demands an additional two billion.

The main point of contention is the regional differences in doctors' fees. Doctors in Munich earn much more than, for example, country doctors in eastern German regions. Now it is necessary to see how the regions can be served differently without causing resentment among the supposed losers. The black and yellow coalition has urged both central associations to avoid the relative disadvantage of individual federal states with an "asymmetrical regional alignment". Doctors from the federal states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia in particular charge far higher fees from health insurers. (sb, 05.10.2010)

Also read:
Deaths from lack of doctors coming soon?
Sharp rise in doctor's fees
Zero round for resident doctors?

Image: Dieter Schütz /

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