Improvements required: hospital reform: head of the health insurance fund warns of failure


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Hospital reform: chief physician warns of failure

The head of the panel doctors, Andreas Gassen, sees a lot of room for improvement in Karl Lauterbach’s hospital reform – otherwise it threatens to fail. The doctor also makes it clear at several points where he sees a need to catch up.

Kassenärztechef Andreas Gassen has warned that the hospital reform will fail if the federal-state plans are not substantially improved. “If outpatient treatment is not strengthened by involving practices and the selection of the right clinics is not coordinated intelligently and strategically, then this reform will fail,” said the chairman of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”. In Germany there are still “absurdly many” inpatient interventions, “that’s why it’s extremely annoying and absolutely incomprehensible that the health insurance companies are blocking outpatient treatment,” said Gassen. “Far too many treatments are still being provided on an inpatient basis and insured persons’ money is being squandered.”

It is also not a solution to reimburse hospitals with low patient numbers for costs “for beds that nobody needs,” said the head of the panel doctor. Here, too, the reform plans must be “considerably” improved. What Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach had agreed with the states or the states had “enforced” “appears at best as a first surcharge,” said Gassen. “It was obviously important to the minister to clear up the subject in the media first. The actual work is still pending.”

Houses with 40, 50 or 100 beds and low occupancy “should be closed or, where it makes sense, converted into health centers,” demanded the KBV chairman. Practices could be located there that are not staffed from morning to night every day, but where general practitioners and specialists treat patients on specified days. “But you don’t need a small hospital structure with high administrative costs, poor staffing and a very limited range of medical services,” said Gassen.

A real structural reform, on the other hand, would improve care and job satisfaction and would benefit everyone, especially the people in the region. “Because the way it is, the workload is dramatic in many places and the dissatisfaction of the medical and nursing staff is high,” added the KBV boss.

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