Health insurance companies for greater concentration of the clinic network
The federal and state governments are struggling to reorganize the hospitals. It should also improve quality through more specialization. The only tricky question is: How many more locations will it then need?
The statutory health insurance companies (GKV) are promoting the implementation of the controversial hospital reform and a stronger concentration of the nationwide network. “With around 1,250 clinics that already exist, good care would be secured in Germany,” said Stefanie Stoff-Ahnis, board member of the GKV umbrella association, on Friday in Kremmen, Brandenburg. This emerges from a model of the association, which is based on a current network of 1675 houses. The rest would have to explain what they would be needed for in the future. They could also be rebuilt.
Important from the patient’s point of view is: “Any hospital is not enough to be cared for,” said Stoff-Ahnis. If you’re in a bad clinic quickly, it’s no use. A “nationally uniform planning language” is needed for quality and needs. This means that complex operations would be concentrated at suitable clinics instead of being carried out at “occasional providers”. The aim is: “If you do something often, you can simply do it better”.
SHI model with 1247 hospitals
Specifically, the GKV model proposes a network of 1,247 hospitals, 428 fewer than now. These include 422 clinics with “extended or comprehensive emergency care”, 358 with an emergency level and an accessibility radius of 30 minutes’ drive. There could also be 272 larger specialist hospitals and 64 locations with special target groups such as children’s hospitals, special departments for stroke or trauma centers. According to the concept, another 131 hospitals would be needed to ensure regional care.
Stoff-Ahnis campaigned for the hospital reform to come about. There must also be more discussion about where the opportunities lie. Change does not just mean downsizing, this can also result in investments in new departments at certain locations. So far, the debate has often been conducted from the perspective of the clinics. But it must be about: “How does the patient get to the hospital – not how does the hospital get to its patients.” The federal states emphasized their planning sovereignty for the clinics. What is excluded, however, is that they also have obligations to finance investments. However, all countries did not make enough of the necessary billions in payments.
After consultations with the federal states on Thursday, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) spoke of a breakthrough for the plans. The plan is to draft legislation over the summer so that the reform can come into force in early 2024. Among other things, the focus is on uniform quality criteria and classifications of the clinic network. In addition, the remuneration system with flat rates for treatment cases is to be changed in order to free clinics from economic pressure to more and more cases at the expense of quality. In the future, they should receive secure financing just for providing certain services.