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„We Pin Our Hopes on a Change of the Political Style“
Where is hospital politics going to?
MEDICA.de. spoke with Daniel Wosnitzka, the speaker of the German Hospital Conference Association (Deutsche Krankenhausgesellschaft, DKG), about unnecessary bureaucracy costs, demanded five billion euros annually and more freedom of choice for the patients.
MEDICA.de: Mister Wosnitzka, your motto this year is „Hospital Politics after the Elections“. As speaker of the DKG – were you happy about the election outcome?
Daniel Wosnitzka: We hope that the government coalition consisting of the parties CDU and FDP will establish a new culture of faith. In the end of the last legislative period, the hardly communicative atmosphere in the Federal Ministry of Health has truly irritated us. We pin our hopes on a change of the political style that moves the concerns of the hospitals, the central institutions of medical care, back into the focus of legal work.
MEDICA.de: What does it mean for the future of the hospitals that CDU and FDP will determine the course of health politics?
Wosnitzka: Main aims of the new government are to reduce unemployment and to create new jobs on a sustainable basis. Thus, the health care sector - as undeniable motor of growth and employer - belongs into the centre of attention. In general, the electoral platforms of both the CDU and FDP are not congruent. This holds true especially for the health care system and the German health fund. Yet both platforms do not contain many concrete ideas or plans regarding hospitals. It seems clear though that the current regulative frame of the funding of the operational costs of hospitals will not be put into question. Speaking for the hospitals, it is pivotal to revise the outcomes of the Hospital Financing Reform Act (KHRG). The morbidity burden should be carried by the insurances instead of the care providers.
MEDICA.de: The 32. German Hospital Conference will deal with the expectations of the hospitals towards the new government. One point is the cutback of bureaucracy and with it of costs. How could politics help here?
Wosnitzka: The cutback of bureaucracy is indeed a central claim of the clinics. The resources at hand should more than today be directed to the treatment of the patient. By now, hospital physicians spend in average three hours per working day with paperwork. This bureaucracy has to be reduced so that physicians and nursing staff can concentrate on the treatment of the patients. Regardless of this, the amount of bureaucracy has even increased in recent times. For example, there are by far too many unjustified checks by insurances. Year by year, unnecessary costs of 1.3 billion euros result from beaucracy in the clinics.
MEDICA.de: In a press release you wrote that, at the German Hospital Conference, the health care reforms will be scrutinised and that innovative approaches for the stationary care in future will be presented. Can you give some examples for this?
Wosnitzka: The hospitals and their employees expect a clear signal that the interlocking of ambulant and stationary sector will continue. That includes the formation of Medical Health Care Centres by the hospitals as well as the access of seriously ill patients to ambulant treatment by specialised hospital physicians. CDU and FDP both claimed that they would promote the freedom of choice. The ambulant hospital care should not be barred from this and should be a choice for patients.
MEDICA.de: The FDP would like to abrogate the German health fund only one year after it was introduced. What do you think about that?
Wosnitzka: We expressly welcome that the FDP has put the abrogation of the German health fund on the political agenda. With this distribution machinery, a financing shortfall of the public health sector was pre-programmed from the outset. Giving the insurances a standardised amount of money per insured person systematically withdraws funds from the health care system. This concept is not qualified to secure the growing financial requirements.
MEDICA.de: What will be further urgent issues in the upcoming legislative period?
Wosnitzka: Expanding the options to contract individually might be on the agenda. To regulate the financing of investments, the coalition partners surely first await the development of the investment lump sums. From the perspective of the hospitals, an increase of funds for investments is pressing. Needed are around five billion euros annually.
The interview was conducted by Anke Barth
An overview on all events of the 32st German Hospital Conference and the MEDICA Congress is available here.