The ceremony took place in the coburg congress center, the new company’s headquarters became sonneberg: on sunday, it was ten years ago that the four counties of coburg, lichtenfels, sonneberg and hildburghausen as well as the cities of coburg and schleusingen founded the regiomed hospital group.
It was one of the first such mergers of municipal hospitals, and it had some unique features. None of the clinics involved was in economic difficulties and had to merge with another out of sheer necessity. And: it was a merger across federal state borders, between thuringia and franconia, exactly 18 years to the day after the border barriers had fallen between neustadt and sonneberg.
First discussion in 2003
The parties involved had taken their time: the first talks were held in 2003, and it was not until four years later that the merger took place, which was nowhere near as close as it is today. The counties and the coburg hospital association brought their clinics into a joint holding company. The buildings themselves remained the property of the counties, because they contained receivables from the respective federal states.
Ten years later, regiomed has already come a long way on the road to becoming a healthcare group: the company not only operates hospitals and old people’s homes, but has also set up its own medical school for training doctors (in cooperation with the university of split). At the top, in addition to the chief executive officer, there is one for the medical and one for the commercial sector. The holding company is still headquartered in sonneberg, but the central administration with its responsibilities for finance and personnel is located in coburg, in the former nurses’ home.
Regiomed and the group’s hospital companies have repeatedly stepped in over the past few years, most recently when the coburg sisterhood of the red cross went insolvent: the coburg hospital took on the nurses who were already working there as employees. Even before the insolvency, regiomed had taken over the senior citizens’ center on gustav-hirschfeld-ring, and now it has added the house on the sliding stand to its portfolio. In 2012, the hospital in neustadt became a subsidiary of klinikum coburg, which is itself part of the hospital network. Regiomed also operates 15 medical care centers (mvzs) throughout the region to help ensure the provision of care by family doctors.
New location under discussion
There is currently talk of finding a completely new location for the coburg hospital, which will then be known as the "healthcare campus" a new central hospital for the entire hospital network is to be built in lichtenfels, where a new hospital is currently under construction.
These developments did not always go smoothly: katja bittner, who as the first chief executive officer was supposed to try to bring the individual parts of regiomed closer together, was dismissed prematurely in 2013 after only two years by decision of the shareholders, after she had made some controversial decisions. However, the fact that the parties involved had different ideas about what competencies a chief executive officer should have probably also played a role here. The legal dispute over the dismissal dragged on until 2015.
Bittner’s successor joachim bovelet, in office since the beginning of 2014, seems to have a happier hand in dealing with the representatives of the regiomed shareholders. Originally brought in from berlin as interim managing director to bridge the gap after bittner’s dismissal, he now has a contract until 2018.
But it wasn’t just the directors who changed: of the six politicians who signed the contract ten years ago, only the thuringians are still in office today: district administrator thomas muller (hildburghausen, CDU), district administrator christine zitzmann (sonneberg, no party affiliation) and mayor klaus brodfuhrer (schleusingen, CDU). Coburg district administrator karl zeitler (SPD) was replaced by michael busch (SPD) in 2008, coburg’s mayor norbert kastner (SPD) was replaced by norbert tessmer (SPD) in 2014. Christian meibner (CSU) was elected in 2011 to succeed district administrator reinhard leutner (lichtenfels, CSU).