Prepayment plans: Many medical practices would have to close


Plans for prepayment when visiting a doctor: Around 25 percent of medical practices would have to close if the cost reimbursement model favored by Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler was introduced.

The prepayment planned by the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) when visiting the doctor could result in the closure of around 25 percent of the doctor's offices. Nevertheless, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) is in favor of introducing the new reimbursement model.

Around 25 percent of medical practices will have to close. Andreas Köhler, head of the KBV, said in an interview with the "Rheinische Post": "I assume that the cost of reimbursement will reduce the number of doctor's surgeries by around 25 percent." Part of the cost control is then in your own hands and you will examine your invoice more closely, which, according to the specialist, will greatly intensify competition among doctors. Koehler therefore assumes that doctor visits will be around 20 to 25 Percent will decrease, which would have to close around 25 percent of medical practices in the long term.

Increased competitive pressure to increase efficiency. Nevertheless, the KBV boss advocates the cost reimbursement model, because "until now, cost control has always been a burden on the doctor." He "considers it necessary, however, that the insured person also assumes responsibility," explained Köhler. With the comprehensive reimbursement of costs, insured persons are made more aware of the costs of their treatment, which increases competition among doctors and "if the number of doctor visits is reduced, doctors have to advertise more for their insured persons." According to Koehler, this increase in competitive pressure also a constructive element for increasing efficiency in the health system. The seventeen statutory health insurance associations in Germany have 153,895 members, 137,416 doctors and 16,479 psychological psychotherapists and child and adolescent psychotherapists.

The statutory health insurance companies reject the prepayment model. The move by the Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler, on the other hand, is met with massive opposition from the statutory insurance companies, as they fear a considerable administrative overhead and cannot see any real improvement in the situation for the patients. In addition, the patients themselves attach great importance to nationwide care, although it must be questioned whether this can still be guaranteed with 25 percent fewer medical practices. The chairwoman of the central association of statutory health insurance, Doris Pfeiffer, goes further in her criticism. "The hope that reimbursement will lead to lower costs is an illusion," she said in an interview with the Frankfurter Rundschau (FR) recently. Pfeiffer added that the arguments of the KBV are not surprising, since "the doctors hope () Of course, it is easier to persuade people in emergency situations to pay for unnecessary services than the health insurance companies in negotiations at eye level. ”The model also harbors some risks for the doctors, since they bear the sole risk if the treatment costs are not paid by the patients. (fp, 11.10.2010)

Also read:
Health insurers against payment in advance at the doctor
Nationwide uniform doctor fees?
CSU criticism of reimbursement: Rösler defends itself
Doctors advocate reimbursement
Rösler plans to pay in advance when visiting the doctor

Image: Günther Richter / pixelio.de

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