Health insurance companies are calling for more clinics to be closed


Health insurance companies are calling for hospital reform
10.10.2013

The statutory health insurance companies are demanding that the future federal government dismantle clinics nationwide. Due to the many hospitals, there is more than enough coverage available. However, the quality of the treatments leaves something to be desired.

In the long overdue reform, hospitals are to be closed on a large scale in order to finally reduce excess capacity, said the Vice-Chairman of the Central Association of Statutory Health Insurance (GKV), Johann-Magnus von Stackelberg.

The chairman accused the federal states of irresponsible planning in the past. The majority of clinics would only be used as a “vehicle for local economic development. The focus is not on patient care. Overcapacities have pushed up prices for treatments. Added to this is the dubious increase in operations and the lost focus on quality orientation.

How many of the more than 2,000 hospitals in Germany should become, has not been said. The only thing that is certain is that something has to change. Our Dutch neighbors have only 132 hospitals with around 17 million inhabitants. For comparison: the state of North Rhine-Westphalia alone has more than 400 hospitals with a similar population and an approximately equal number of cases. Stackelberg emphasized that the planned closures are not about the rural clinics, but rather the smaller hospitals in the cities should be dismantled. For the responsible head of the GKV association, Wulf-Dietrich Leber, a reduction of ten percent is not enough. He calls for a bigger cut.

14-point plan to streamline the hospital sector The 2013 Hospital Rating Report had already shown that 27 percent of the approximately 2,000 hospitals were at risk of bankruptcy. Half of them very much. A reason for the health insurance companies to close the unnecessary clinics with the help of a 14-point plan. In future, especially in metropolitan areas, a tendering model for predictable inpatient services, such as hip or knee surgery, will control occupancy and remuneration. So far, the cash registers have been subject to the so-called contracting obligation. This means that clinics with poor quality have to be remunerated just like houses that guarantee care. The health insurance companies should be able to conclude contracts with good clinics so that the bad hospitals can no longer exist on the market. In this way, control should also take place during complex medical interventions. Only the handles, which can show certain minimum numbers of cases, should come to the fore. By concentrating on "special clinics", the health insurance companies hope to improve the quality of the treatments.

Economic reasons for more surgeries With the catalog of measures, the increasing quantity of surgeries should also be stopped. Only a third of the increase is due to an aging population. The strong increase is not only due to medical but rather economic reasons. Overall, the German Hospital Society (DKG) rejected the claims of the health insurance companies. You see in the plans an increase in the existing rationalization pressure at the expense of the employees. (fr)

Image: Dieter Schütz / pixelio.de

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