Model project: Health insurance companies do not want to continue financing the health kiosk

model project
Cash registers do not want to continue financing the health kiosk

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) visiting the health kiosk in Hamburg.  Photo: Marcus Brandt/dpa

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) visiting the health kiosk in Hamburg. photo

© Marcus Brandt/dpa

For Health Minister Lauterbach, the Hamburg health kiosk is a "prototype" that he wants to establish nationwide. Three health insurance companies do not want to continue to bear the costs of the model project.

The replacement funds Barmer, DAK and Techniker Krankenkasse cancel the nationwide as model project serving health kiosk in Hamburg the financing. The assumption of the costs for the operation of the kiosk, which gives health advice to people in the socially disadvantaged districts of Billstedt and Horn, will not be extended beyond the end of the year, the health insurers said.

The facility also offered advice on health, but not within the remit of statutory health insurance, it said. In addition, the operation is disproportionate to the high expenses of the cash registers.

The services of the health kiosks with many already existing offers of the social assistance system, according to the joint statement. "In Hamburg, for example, there are local networking centers for prevention, nursing support points, offers from the individual health insurance companies and the wide range of offers from the health authorities."

OK wants to continue engagement

The AOK, which, like Mobil Krankenkasse, is involved in the financing of the health kiosk, announced that it intends to continue its commitment. "We think the idea and the approach of the health kiosks as low-threshold counseling services in social hotspots make a lot of sense," said Carola Reimann, Chairwoman of the Board. "Every person should have the same health opportunities, regardless of their social status."

According to its own statements, the Hamburg health kiosk is threatened with closure: without the funds of the three substitute registers continued operation is not possible, said managing director Alexander Fischer of the German Press Agency. For him, the step of the replacement funds came as a complete surprise. Since bankruptcy is imminent, he will probably have to give notice of termination shortly. The kiosk employs 16 people. The operation costs around 1 million euros per year.

He considers the argument of the three health insurers that consulting services would be financed that cannot be financed by the statutory health insurance company to be false. "We don't do any social work here. We have graduate nurses who take care of patients together with doctors." Rather, the step "health policy is made on the backs of the poorest".

Other funds refer to "very precarious financial development"

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) only visited the Hamburg facility at the end of August and described it as a "prototype" of the nationwide 1,000 health kiosks he was planning to set up in socially disadvantaged regions. According to his key issues paper, 74.5 percent of the costs should be covered by statutory health insurance, 5.5 percent by private health insurance companies and 20 percent by the municipalities. The cash registers saw this critically.

In the Hamburg case, too, the three health insurance companies point out that "in view of the very precarious financial development of the GKV from the coming year, such expensive and sometimes redundant service offers will not be feasible". "It makes more sense to better network existing structures for our insured and to avoid duplicate structures."

The Virchow Association of resident doctors in Germany, co-initiator and shareholder of the Hamburg health kiosk, blamed the federal health minister with his "immature key points" for the withdrawal of the substitute health insurance funds. "With its erratic and inconsistent policy, Lauterbach is destroying the good care in social hotspots of all places," said Virchowbund chairman Dirk Heinrich.


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