Eversmeyer on the end of the rescue package for hospitals

The Director of the Solingen Clinic Dr. Martin Eversmeyer
“The burden on hospitals is not over”

To support hospitals in the corona pandemic, the federal government had decided on a bailout package. This should now expire. As a result, hospitals could face financial difficulties, fears Dr. Martin Eversmeyer.

The rescue package for hospitals expired at Easter. What size was it?

Dr Martin Eversmeyer In 2020 we received a sum of 12 million euros at the Solingen Clinic as part of the rescue package. This includes, on the one hand, a compensatory payment as a lump sum allowance. Hospitals should keep beds clear for Covid patients during the pandemic. This represents about 60-70 percent of the 12 million. Then there is also money for the purchase of additional fans or tests. In 2021 the total has already significantly decreased, mainly due to the increased occupation of the clinic. Then there were seven million. And in the first quarter of this year, we received three million.

Why has the save expired now?

Eversmeyer During the pandemic, politicians have always waited to see how the situation evolves. Then the bailout was again extended for a certain period of time. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach is now making the free allowance expire. Additional expenses for Covid patient care – such as ventilators and tests – have been extended, but only until June 30. So the next few weeks will show how this continues.

What does this mean for the Solingen Clinic in particular?

Eversmeyer We are far from normal operations. But this year we have been able to increase employment considerably. We anticipate a similar level as at the end of 2019. But this also means that we have to deal with additional staff costs. Because we spent a lot of money on temporary agency work during the pandemic. In 2021 it was about three million euros, and in the first quarter of 2022 it was already one million. This is especially true for maintenance. Temporary work should now decrease again. We are currently hiring more employees. But that’s not possible that quickly.

Why did temporary work become so important during the pandemic?

Eversmeyer If more and more infected patients come to the hospital, we must first isolate and test them for the crown. Employees put more effort into treatment because they have to protect themselves. These employees are then dispersed elsewhere. Consequently, we have a greater need for staff, which we cover with the help of temporary employment agencies in care. So far we have been able to afford it financially thanks to the bailout package.

And that will no longer be possible once the bailout fund money is gone.

Eversmeyer I agree. This money is still needed. Other homes are much further away from normal 2019 than we are. The abolition of these funds now ensures that house bills don’t add up. And if the crown situation were to worsen again, hospitals would not be able to recruit staff as quickly. The Federal Minister of Health does not see him.

What is the current situation of the crown at the Solingen Clinic?

Eversmeyer The incidence has decreased over the past four weeks. This is definitely related to time. But even now we have 25 to 30 patients in our home who are Covid positive. They have several ailments, they are not necessarily in intensive care. However, we must isolate them. This obviously limits the occupation of the hospital. We try to position infected patients in such a way that isolation is limited to two or three wards.

So from your point of view is it wrong to expire the bailout now, even if the numbers are down?

Eversmeyer Yes. Karl Lauterbach said he wants to come up with something new for the fall. But you can’t just say the pandemic is over at Easter and abolish the funds overnight and then keep looking into the fall.

Health Minister Lauterbach justified the expiration of the bailout package with the fact that a hotspot situation no longer exists in Germany and the hospitalization rate is falling.

Eversmeyer It’s correct. I can understand that to some extent, after all, the government has to look at the money. But if home occupancy becomes more normal during the summer, the state will pay even less compensation. This is how it should be. So it is incomprehensible not to let it pass. The tension on hospitals during the pandemic is simply not over now. That’s why you shouldn’t abolish bailout.

The corona pandemic has also drawn society’s attention to the fact that hospitals must work economically.

Eversmeyer Since the early 2000s, we have had flat rates by accident. This means that hospitals are basically only paid for the performance. As a result, hospitals are in huge competition for patients. The traffic light coalition wants to change things. This needs to be done soon. In nursing, it is already true that billing is based on expense rather than individual cases. It is conceivable that hospitals will receive more money than fixed amounts in the future. It would be conceivable that around 60 per cent of the budget would no longer be subject to this pressure to execute. It would be desirable.

Does the end of the rescue package risk worsening medical treatment?

Eversmeyer Fortunately I don’t see him in Solingen. However, a survey by the Westphalia Hospital Association showed that other hospitals have performance limitations of up to 20% compared to 2019. They will not be able to fix it. This could lead to liquidity problems and at some point wages may no longer be paid. That’s why we hope Lauterbach will use the rescue parachute soon. Under Jens Spahn he had already been suspended for a few weeks. After that he came back. I hope now it is like this again.

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