The Austrian Medical Association

09/02/2016 3547 Views

Tasks, duties and responsibilities

The Austrian Medical Chamber is, by virtue of law, the umbrella organisation of all Medical Chambers. In Austria, there exists one Medical Chamber for each province, i.e. nine provincial Medical Chambers.

It is provided by law that all doctors exercising their profession, either in the hospital or on a self-employed basis in their own practice, including doctors in training (interns), are members of the Medical Chamber of the province in which they work.

The institution, structure and tasks of the Medical Chambers as well as the tasks and duties of their members are regulated at federal level by the Austrian Medical Act. In general, the provincial Medical Chambers are responsible for representing the doctors in their respective province. This implies that most of the operative duties fall under their competence. The Austrian Medical Chamber, on the other hand, assumes the responsibility for matters which concern the whole country, the main emphasis being on strategic activities.

Compared with other European countries, the Medical Chambers in Austria seem to have the most comprehensive scope of responsibility. The Medical Chambers have in so far a dual position as they function as unions in representing the economic interests of medical doctors. On the other hand, The Austrian Medical Chamber, similar to the British General Medical Council, the French and the Southern European Ordres or the German Bundesärztekammer, also exercises jurisdiction.

The Medical Chamber, representing the interests of the medical profession, is heard not only by authorities, but also by legislative bodies in all matters concerning doctors. It is, in addition, incumbent on the Medical Chamber to keep the medical register, in which all doctors licensed for medical practice are listed. In Austria, it is the Austrian Medical Chamber which supervises the postgraduate training of doctors and is also the licensing institution. Furthermore, the Austrian Medical Chamber is the legal bargaining partner in the negotiations of fees for self-established doctors, with the respective social insurance institutions. The Medical Chamber, in cooperation with the respective social insurance institutions, determines the placement of new practices, and contracts with social health insurance, as well as the candidate to which the contract will be awarded. In the case of employed doctors, the Austrian Medical Chamber functions as a union. In all provinces the Medical Chamber negotiates the special fees for doctors in hospitals treating and attending patients, who are privately insured. Finally, each provincial Medical Chamber runs a pension fund providing disability and old age pension benefits to doctors.

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