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German health minister Lauterbach calls controversial hospital commission for re-development of hospital funding

Prof. Lauterbach is once again causing confusion and incomprehension among experts.

The financing of German hospitals has been criticized and put to the test for years. The current federal government has therefore already stipulated in its coalition agreement that "with a federal-state contract [...] the necessary reforms for modern and needs-based hospital care are to be launched" and a government commission is to be set up for this purpose. On the basis of criteria such as "different levels of care", "accessibility" and "demographic development", it is to develop a "differentiated system of reimbursement-independent „Vorhaltepauschalen“" and at the same time "in the short term" ensure "needs-based adequate financing for paediatrics, emergency care and obstetrics". Hospitals have so far been financed on a dual basis. This means that the investments of the approximately 2,000 German hospitals are made by the 16 federal states and the operating costs are financed by the approximately 100 health insurance companies via the DRG system. The operationalization of the rules prescribed by politics underlies the so-called self-governmental bodies.

Health Minister Lauterbach has now appointed the government commission prescribed in the coalition agreement. The composition of the commission by 16 scientists without the participation of health insurance companies, the federal states and self-government is remarkable. At the same time, it is striking that the scientist Prof. Busse has been appointed who calls for the abolition of more than 80% of German hospitals (source: Wir haben zu viele Häuser (aok-bv.de)).

"We have serious concerns and doubts that the elected composition of the government commission is suitable to fulfil the tasks mentioned in the coalition agreement. We fear that the focus will not primarily be on the quality of medical care but on reducing expenditure and that the already existing two-class medicine – rural regions vs. metropolitan areas – will continue to intensify," fears Sven Sauermann, CEO of Healthcare Heads. We have reported on other upcoming changes here (easter newsletter).

Please find the link to the government commission here (BM Lauterbach presents hospital commission - Federal Ministry of Health).

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