Berlin Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) wants to stick to its controversial decision to delete the new patient rule for established doctors. “The new patient regulation did not work and will therefore not be continued in its current form,” he told the Handelsblatt.
The abolition is part of Lauterbach’s financial reform for statutory health insurance and brings the funds around 500 million euros per year. As a result of the rule, doctors have received more money for the treatment of newly admitted patients for around three years. It should lead to patients without a permanent family doctor getting an appointment more quickly.
Lauterbach, on the other hand, had criticized that the rule had brought no demonstrable benefit. However, it is conceivable that the ministry will introduce a successor rule.
Lauterbach’s plans to abolish the rule met with great criticism from the medical profession. At the beginning of September, 2,000 of the 6,500 practices in Berlin remained closed in protest. Doctors also demonstrated in front of the Brandenburg Gate. The federal states also demanded that the extra payment be retained.
Top jobs of the day
Find the best jobs now and
be notified by email.
The German Medical Association had already criticized that the loss of this money for the doctors could worsen the care situation and might represent another reason for young doctors to decide against a branch. And the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) expressed concern that the waiting times could be significantly longer.
Lauterbach: Demands for zero round “not appropriate”
However, an amendment to Lauterbach’s draft of the health insurance financial stabilization law, which is also intended to resolve the abolition of the rule for new patients, is considered unlikely. The law still has to be passed in the Bundestag.
Lauterbach said, “nevertheless, the practices of resident doctors and psychotherapists are also confronted with rising energy and inflation costs”. Therefore, the demand of the statutory health insurance companies for a zero round for the fees is “not appropriate”.
These had raised the coffers in order to further stabilize their dramatic financial situation. “In the difficult months that are coming, we have to treat each other fairly and in solidarity,” said Lauterbach.