Advising on Designing Chief Physician Agreements

The Bundesärztekammer [German Medical Association], the Association of Germany’s leading hospital doctors and the Marburger Bund association expressed rather critical opinions on the model contract by Deutsche Krankenhausgesellschaft [German Hospital Federation]. All three institutions recommend negotiating contracts for chief physicians individually and taking sufficient account of the specific situation of the chief physician and the hospital owner in question. In their opinion, individual adjustment of chief physician’s contracts is unavoidable.

Taking this into account, Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek provides comprehensive advice on all matters relating to the drafting of the contracts. As a rule, compensation issues are of primary importance. In this area, both performance-related compensation and fixed salaries are considered, while combinations of fixed and variable salary components, agreements on objectives, bonus provisions and stable-value clauses may also come under consideration. The compensation agreements must always take into account the efficiency principle. With regard to compensation agreements, in particular in the case of stationary liquidation income, there are often tax problems; we also offer comprehensive advice in this area.

In addition to the compensation rights agreements, employment law and social law aspects are of considerable relevance in chief physicians’ contracts. Chief physicians’ contracts generally need termination arrangements that are acceptable to both sides. A fixed term of the contract, the agreement of permissible secondary employment and the arrangements for social contributions by the employer can also be of interest. Liability agreements should not be omitted, either.

The focus of our consultancy here is, however, always on the individual situation of the parties involved. Our task is therefore to find an appropriate balance of interests and to legally guarantee it.

Dr. Hans Gummert, Dr. Mareike Meier, both Düsseldorf
Kay Jacobsen, Hamburg

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