Emergency service GOT

New emergency service GOT in force from today
New emergency service GOT in force from today 150 150Sven Jan Arndt

As already written before, the new Ordinance on Fees for Veterinary Surgeons - the part concerning emergency services - will come into force as soon as it is published. he publication is today - on 13.02.2020 in the Federal Law Gazette. This new Fourth Ordinance amending the Veterinary Fee Ordinance is therefore directly applicable.

You can download the specific wording here: BGBL Publication Emergency Service GOT

New Emergency Service Ordinance / fees from January 2020 (Emergency Service GOT)
New Emergency Service Ordinance / fees from January 2020 (Emergency Service GOT) 1024 722Sven Jan Arndt

From January 2020, new tariffs for the emergency service of veterinarians (Emergency Service GOT) will apply in accordance with the law passed by the Bundesrat on 20.12.2019.

Justification: Comprehensive emergency service provision in veterinary medicine increasingly at risk

Until now, the costs could hardly be covered by practices or clinics. In order to comply with the Working Hours Act, increased personnel expenditure is necessary and this must be paid for. Therefore, increased fees should help to increase the contribution margin.

In human medicine, collective agreements provide for night and on-call services of up to 36 hours and are compatible with the Working Hours Act. This does not apply to salaried veterinarians - even in emergency service they may only work eight or ten hours at a time and must then take eleven hours of rest. This is also controlled by the trade supervisory authority and violations by veterinary practices/clinics are punished with heavy fines. However, this means a clear lack of personnel, the costs and the specialists are difficult for many practices and clinics to cope with.

Key points of the update of the emergency service GOT

So what concrete legal changes should take place from January 2020?

  • "Emergency service fee": In the future, a mandatory, flat-rate basic fee of 50 euros will be charged for a veterinary emergency outside regular consultation hours.
  • Minimum rate for veterinary services: Emergency services must be billed at least twice the fee rate from the time the law comes into force; optionally, they can be billed at a maximum of up to four times the rate, depending on the amount of work involved (previously a maximum of three times the rate)
  • Changed emergency duty times: The "night time" is extended, it is now on weekdays between 6pm (previously 7pm) in the evening and 8am (previously 7am) in the morning. In addition, new weekend times now apply - previously Saturday was defined as a weekend from 1 pm to Monday 8 am. Now the weekend is extended from Friday 6 p.m. to Monday 8 a.m., for this period the new emergency service fees must be settled. (To be considered for employed veterinarians: These "emergency service times" are not identical with the basic times, from which a night/weekend service surcharge is to be paid according to working hours law).

Especially the last point led to unrest and misunderstandings - our good news for you:

The Federal Veterinary Association makes it clear that with regular consultation hours on Saturday and in the evening until 19 o'clock we are allowed to continue to carry out these consultations without these surcharges and will continue to do so!

The obligation to charge an emergency service fee and at least twice the fee rate shall not apply to services provided during the regular office hours of a veterinary practice, veterinary clinic or other veterinary institution. If a practice offers regular consultation hours on Friday evenings until 20:00 or Saturday mornings, this is not an emergency veterinary service. There is therefore no change to the regular consultation hours.

What's the emergency?

It was important to the German Veterinary Association to also once again record what is an emergency and what should and should not be done in the emergency service. You can find comprehensive information on this in the attached flyer of the Federal Veterinary Association:

Flyer emergency service GOT
Flyer emergency service GOT