Fields of Law

Medical Law


Medical law relates to all legal norms by which doctors and their professional activities are bound. It is not at all a ‘self-contained’ legal system – although separate laws and by-laws have been passed for this professional group. It is rather that Civil, Criminal, Social and Procedural Law also contain provisions which specifically address the medical profession. A solid knowledge of Tax and Company Law is also indispensable when setting up or dividing up a medical practice. Of increasing importance to doctors and hospitals is also the question what kind of advertising is permitted for their particular range of services. It is here that the Rules on Professional Conduct, the (German) Laws on Drug Advertising (HWG) and Unfair Competition (UWG) mesh together.

Ahlers-und-Vogel-Rechtsanwälte im Austausch
Ahlers-und-Vogel-Rechtsanwälte im Austausch

Ahlers & Vogel can provide assistance in all of the legal areas relevant to medical professionals. After many years of regularly representing and advising a number of large hospitals, private hospital operators and a large number of GPs, we have particular experience within this field.

Particular areas of expertise can be found in more detail in the menu below.

Since its creation in 2003, the German hospital remuneration system (aG-DRG-Fallpauschalensystem) for the highly qualified treatment of patients in hospitals has developed into a complex legal system of statutory and sub-statutory regulations that are subject to annual changes. Originally conceived as a typical case oriented system, it is now widely being discussed both in specialist circles and in public as the application of the remuneration system to individual treatment cases gives rise to a large number of medical and legal conflicts that have to be decided by the social courts (Sozialgerichte).

Ahlers & Vogel is representing hospitals in court against statutory health insurance companies since 2003 and therefore has particular expertise in this area. We also advise hospitals on strategic measures to secure liquidity and on out-of-court disputes over hospital reimbursements.

The basic idea of integrated care is that the health insurances arrange supply offers directly with a circle of healthcare providers; cross-sector (outpatient/hospitalized) and/or interdisciplinary. The providers may include resident panel doctors, joint practices, authorized hospital owners and/or medical-care centres. A whole new organisational concept is related to this which requires integrated medical thinking and acting from all parties involved. A general contractor assumes the supply responsibility and cooperates with other providers. Hospitals in particular, but also medical-care centres, bring along all requirements in order to be successful as “general contractors”. Resident physicians and joint practices benefit from strategic and economic advantages when participating in integrated care.

The access to integrated care requires speed, precision, caution and experience. With a team of specialists we can advise you on topics ranging from designing an integration model to the development of customized contracts and their implementation. We support all of our clients in regard to negotiations with health insurances.

The foundation of a joint practice is an interface between the classical Medicine Law and Company Law. With regard to their legal form, they are to be considered as private corporations or partnership companies. However, due to the variety of rules of the professional chamber and the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians regarding the legal issues of panel doctors, the joint practice contracts differ substantially from general (standard) partnership contracts. This requires an advisor who knows every minute detail. Based on our years of experience, our team can accompany you on the way towards the foundation of your joint practice, and when necessary, assume the representation of your interests towards the Association of Statutory Health Insurance in the case of licensing disputes. Likewise, we also advise in legal disputes of an existing joint practice.

The Law governing the profession of physicians and dentists has changed radically in the last few years. Not only the jurisdiction (e.g. relaxation of the strict advertising ban) but also the legislator and the corporate body stipulating the statutes contributed to this. As a consequence of the Health Care Modernization Act, the 107th German Congress of Physicians modified the professional code of conduct with particular regard to the professional conditions relating to medical work in 2004. Many of these new features require legal expertise and extensive experience. Ahlers & Vogel offers physicians and dentists legal advice and solutions with regard to all classical questions. Many of these questions concern the legal practice of medical studies, gaining or losing the licence to practice medicine, the obligation for further training or single professional obligations.

The medical-care centres are, apart from integrated care (see below), one of the significant structural innovations arising from the Health Care Modernization Act of 2004. They are an organisational form of joint professional activity which offer various design options. It is to be assumed that medical-care centres will prove to be successful alongside joint practices and group practices. We contribute our share to this. As we advise clients who are taking or intend to take a leading role in founding such centres, we have specific knowledge and experience within this area.

Medical Contract Law (in the past “Panel Doctors Law”) is one of the particularly complex areas of law given the obviously high number of reform laws and the variety of legal norms (laws, provisions, guidelines). At the same time, legal security in this field is of existential importance for the majority of resident doctors – for example, in connection with acquiring, obtaining or transferring the residence of a panel doctor and/or the supply mandate to a successor. With regard to such questions, you can rely on the the expertise and experience of our firm’s advice.

As equally valuable to clients are our personal contacts to employees and members of the management boards of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians at our offices in Bremen and Hamburg.

Medical Malpractice Law is – as other special cases of the so-called professional liability – only regulated superficially by law. It is substantially structured and interpreted by case law rulings of the highest courts which deal with trials for compensation for so-called ‘medical malpractice’. The number of such trials is increasing steadily and provides for plenty of landmark decisions of the Federal Supreme Court and the Higher Regional Courts. Therefore, in our view the basis of a competent and successful handling of medical liability is detailed information concerning the current jurisdiction. Our lawyers are well equipped to provide the necessary legal advice and quick to understand and master a variety of complex medical issues and questions.

Our lawyers in this field of law