Every fifth hospital is in the red

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The economic situation of many hospitals is "extremely critical".

The financial situation of German hospitals and clinics is worse than previously thought. According to a recent study by the "Hospital Barometer 2010", the economic situation of numerous clinics is extremely critical. According to experts, even the hospital is threatened due to the deficit.

Every fifth hospital affected Every fifth hospital is in the red: Collective bargaining and the resulting higher wage agreements as well as savings rounds have brought about 20 percent of the hospitals into financial misery. Of the 2,100 hospitals, 400 are currently affected: "The legal savings measures will cause the gap between costs and revenues to widen considerably again in 2011," warned the managing director of the German Hospital Society (DKG), Georg Baum. Here Baum relied on the current evaluations in the "Hospital Barometer 2010" on Friday in Berlin. From this situation, further mergers between individual clinics and even closings could follow. According to the latest evaluations by the German Hospital Society, the number of hospitals has decreased by 180 facilities in the past ten years. "It becomes clear once again that the hospitals cannot give discounts to the health insurance companies," emphasized Baum.

Background to the savings rounds in the course of the health care reform Last year, the clinics received even more financial resources as part of the Hospital Financing Reform Act. In the course of the health care reform, the black and yellow federal government will cut the additional revenue of the hospitals in the coming year. Combined with the negotiated wage agreements and the higher social security contributions, according to the DKG, the institutions have to raise more money for staff than they can actually record in additional income.

Health insurance companies reject criticism The statutory health insurance companies reject the call for more money for the clinics on the part of the clinic association. Rather, comprehensive reforms are needed to ease the situation. "It cannot be the task of the contributors to finance encrusted structures from their wallets, in which every fifth hospital bed is empty," said association spokesman for the health insurance funds Florian Lanz. After all, the expenditure on treatments in clinics in the statutory health insurance funds alone increased by three percent in 2009. In 2009, the health insurance companies had to raise around 55.4 billion euros for therapy costs in clinics alone. With 34.5 percent, the clinics come first in the total expenditure of the health insurance funds. Ten years ago it was just 43.3 billion euros.

Investments without equity not possible
With the "Hospital Barometer 2010", the clinics were also asked about their investment opportunities. The answers reflect the declining availability of investment funds for years. Although required to do so by law, the funding share of the federal states at around 2.8 billion euros is around 50 percent of the investments made. The hospitals would have long since been decoupled from modernity and progress without own funds, funds and loans.

10.7 million outpatient emergencies treated in clinics
According to the DKI evaluations, around 10.7 million patients were treated as outpatients in the German general hospitals last year as an emergency. This means that an average of 20 emergency patients are cared for every day and every clinic. If one places the outpatient emergency services in relation to the inpatient case numbers of the clinics, there are about 63 outpatient emergencies for every 100 inpatient cases. Baum: “This service provided by hospitals must be taken into account in the legal framework for outpatient emergency care. The clinics can no longer serve as gaps in the gap, ”says the DKG.

Hospital day warns of higher health insurance contributions The German hospital day warns of a "health policy meltdown". Due to demographic change and medical progress, expenditure in the health system would increase continuously. As the Vice President, the Association of Senior Hospital Physicians, Hans-Fred Weiser, said, future high health insurance contributions of around 20 percent and even a contribution rate of 42 percent in 2050. Politicians should therefore finally begin to "develop effective action plans." The association vice director Weiser considers the new law on the financing of statutory health insurance funds (GKV financing law) "not a big hit". Overall, therefore, the insured in particular have to prepare for higher premiums. (sb)

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Image: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de

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