Michael Stolberg
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Accounting, religion, and the economics of medical care in sixteenth-century Germany
Hiob Finzel’s Rationarium praxeos medicae, 1565–89
in Accounting for health
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Sixteenth-century physicians were a major group among the rising class of urban professionals whose economic fortunes rested almost entirely on their academic training and their skills. But little is known so far about their financial situation and economic aspects of sixteenth-century medical practice. Michael Stolberg’s chapter will follow these issues by using the example of the German practitioner Hiob Finzel (c. 1526–89). Finzel, a town physician in Weimar and later in Zwickau, left three heavy folio volumes of his practice journal where he recorded for a period of almost twenty-five years more than 10,000 consultations and the fees his patients paid in return for his services. The practice journal, called Rationarium praxeos medicae, functioned foremost as an account-book, recording the fees paid by thousands of patients, but it also offers a wealth of information on Finzel’s diagnostic and therapeutic practices. At the end of each year, Finzel balanced the accounts to sum up his income and, at the same time, to justify his own work before God. Stolberg’s chapter provides a brief sketch of Finzel’s biography, describes the practice journal and the recorded payments in detail, and highlights the striking religious elements and connotations of Finzel’s Rationarium. Finally, Stolberg analyses the economics of Finzel’s practice and of the relative importance of the payments he received from patients of different social and economic status.

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Accounting for health

Calculation, paperwork, and medicine, 1500–2000


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