Costs for remedies and aids increased enormously

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Statutory health insurance costs for remedies and aids continued to rise. More and more children are affected by back pain.

The statutory health insurance companies have to spend more and more funds on so-called remedies and aids. In the past year costs have increased rapidly, according to a study published today.

According to a study, the expenditures of the statutory health insurances for remedies and aids continued to rise in the past year. Overall, the health insurers spent around 175.6 billion euros on health services. As can be seen from the Barmer GEK report on remedies and aids, ten billion euros were spent in 2009 on physiotherapy, logo and / or occupational therapy, as well as technical aids such as hearing aids and wheelchairs. At the Barmer GEK cash register alone, the cost of aids rose by around 8.4 percent to 670.70 million euros last year. The cost of remedies rose by 4.3 percentage points to 618.4 million euros.

More and more children are affected by back pain
The Barmer report also stated that children always need therapy in early childhood due to back pain, discomfort in the feet and movement disorders, and sometimes even receive strong painkillers. Around 4.7 percent of children up to the age of 13 have already received physiotherapy. The most common cause of treatment in children was back pain at around 47 percent. 29 percent received physiotherapy because of the back pain. Every second child with this diagnosis has already been given strong pain relievers such as ibuprofen, diclofenac or paracetamol.

However, this development is not entirely new. According to a study by the German Salaried Health Insurance Fund (DAK), more and more children are affected by back pain. The number of complaints in childhood has increased rapidly in the last ten years. The health problems usually begin at school age and occur particularly frequently between the ages of 11 and 14. Parents and children can alleviate and prevent discomfort with simple exercises for back pain. In addition, a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of exercise is recommended. The Barmer Report was created by scientists from the Center for Social Policy at the University of Bremen.

Parents and educators share responsibility for development
In view of these rising expenses and illnesses, these numbers must make you “suspicious”, explained the Barmer GEK Vice-Boss Rolf-Ulrich Schlenker. Here the parents are partly responsible for this development. "Here the question arises to what extent the reasons are also to be found in the social environment and in educational deficits." Says Schlenker. Because nowadays children would exercise less and less: "However, promoting physical activity is a task that primarily needs parents and educators," argued Schlenker. While the increase in school children and adolescents can still be explained to some extent due to a lack of exercise and an unhealthy diet, unspecific back pain diagnoses and physiotherapy regulations for children in the card garden are "highly questionable", as Schlenker criticized.

Over-supply tendencies
“Over-supply tendencies” could be further reasons for the rising expenditure. There are signs of this, for example, in shoe insoles for children. In 2007, the proportion of prescribed shoe insoles for children under 13 years of age at the Barmer cash register with at least one insole prescription was 4.9 percent. But according to the report, only around one percent of young patients were actually diagnosed with "flat feet". Due to the cost increases and the ever increasing number of employees in this area, the study author Gerd Glaeske called for more transparency in the aids. The usefulness and effectiveness of the aids usually remain unchecked despite their increasing importance. There is some catching up to do here.

More spending on palliative medicine required
However, Glaeske also sees potential for overspending. There is a need to catch up in the physiotherapeutic care of terminally ill patients with a tumor. While physiotherapy is installed very quickly and prematurely at the beginning of life, it is used sparingly in older, very sick patients. "At the beginning of life, physiotherapy is often used too quickly, but at the end of life it is used too sparingly," says the study author. Especially before death, the very stressful situation of those affected can be alleviated with remedies. Adequate palliative medicine is essential. (sb, 05.10.2010)

Also read:
More and more children have back pain
Back pain exercises

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