Lauterbach announces the reform of the hospital: a group of experts convened

Karl Lauterbach sees the need for reform in the German hospital landscape.Image: Getty Images Europa / Pool

With a new commission, the federal government wants to initiate fundamental reforms in German hospitals. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach asked for it on Monday group of experts, the 16 experts in nursing and medicine, economics, law and a coordinator. A major reform is needed, said the SPD politician in Berlin. The goal is better care. Hospitals and health insurance companies should not belong to the commission, but they should be consulted in their work. Ultimately, the goal is a “single source” result and implementation together with the federal Länder.

Lauterbach said in Berlin that Germany has the most efficient clinics in the world. The pandemic in particular has shown “that we can count on these hospitals”. However, reform is needed. The last reform to date, with the introduction of flat rates by case, dates back to 20 years ago.

Commission plans and objectives

Specifically, it should address, inter alia, how to better ensure emergency care and how to remedy the shortage of nursing staff.Lauterbach made it clear. Furthermore, these are quality incentives for remuneration and changes to the lump-sum financing system for treatment cases.

The commission’s appointment was agreed in the coalition agreement between the SPD, FDP and the Greens. The reforms should therefore also serve to better organize hospitals according to levels of care. Primary, basic, standard and maximum care as well as university clinics are mentioned. Planning should be based on good accessibility of clinics and an increasing proportion of elderly people.

There is a shortage of nurses in Germany.

There is a shortage of nurses in Germany.Image: Getty Images North America / Mario Tama

The head of the commission is the longtime head of the psychiatry department of the Schlosspark-Klinik in Berlin, Tom Bschor. He painted a bleak picture of the situation. Health insurance companies face a deficit of billions. Many hospitals feared bankruptcy and suffered from staff shortages. In the end, it is always the patients who suffer.

criticism of the reform

The Central Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV) has pushed the pace. “With the announcement of the members of the commission, the urgent reform process in the hospital sector has finally begun,” said the spokesman for the association Florian Lanz. “Now there is no more time to waste, because in hospital care, a lot needs to be addressed at the same time, from the quality of care for the nursing staff to the issues of cost-effectiveness.”

Lanz criticized that it would have been better to properly anchor the commission in the health system. “Because in addition to scientific theory, such a reform project also requires the conceptual and implementation skills of self-government”.

The German Patient Protection Foundation was also dissatisfied with the composition of the committee. “Without a doubt, the nearly 2,000 hospitals in Germany need to be future-proofed,” said the board member of the foundation, Eugen Brysch, to the AFP news agency. “The central task here will be to offer age-appropriate medicine in particular.” It is therefore inexplicable that the Federal Minister of Health did not appoint an expert to the commission.

Exact method of work still unclear

Lauterbach said many members are also practitioners. The commission should be a working body that should meet regularly, similar to the federal government’s Corona Expert Council. So it’s not about delivering a report at the end. The exact way of working is yet to be defined.

In their coalition deal, the traffic light parties had agreed to establish a commission to develop recommendations for hospital reforms from 2023 onwards. According to information, the commission will be established and will begin its work in the next few days. Lauterbach recently announced that there should be no generalized closures of clinics as part of the reform.

(crl / dpa / afxp)

In the Corona crisis there are further easing: the isolation prescribed for infected people must be reduced to five days, as agreed in principle by the federal and state health ministers. However, official orders are expected to remain. Corona is not a disease like the flu or a cold, in which you can decide for yourself whether to go to work infected, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told ARD on Friday. The SPD politician came out in favor of a final test “at least as an urgent recommendation” outside. In Hamburg, the final, even more stringent, daily crown requirements nationwide will expire this Saturday.

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