Despite protests, the German Foundation for Patient Protection is pushing for reforms in setting up the clinics. “It is long overdue that the German hospitals finally gear themselves to the needs of the sick people,” said board member Eugen Brysch of the German Press Agency. Human resources have so far not been used where patients need them.

In order to strengthen rural areas, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) should initially launch a planned reform of emergency care there. This would not only give patients efficient inpatient care in the area. The federal states could also prove how seriously they take the strengthening of the districts.

Compensation system should be changed

Lauterbach is planning fundamental new regulations for the financing and organization of the clinics. In order to free them from economic pressure, the remuneration system is to be changed via lump sums for treatment cases. Among other things, a portion of the remuneration should come solely for the provision of service offers. The network that has grown is to be classified in stages and financed accordingly – from basic care close to home to university hospitals. A reform of emergency care is also being considered in order to reduce overburdening.

Brysch said countries and clinics were up in arms against the plans and warned of clear-cutting, especially in rural areas. “This is fueling fears among patients here in particular. There is no shortage of staff.” He pointed out that there has been a 13 percent increase in employment in nursing since 2017. That’s 43,000 more professionals. There is also an increase in medical professions. At the same time, the bed occupancy of the clinics has fallen.