CONCLUSION: Outpatient inpatient treatment against impending supply shortages | News

MNICH / BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Hospitals will have to offer more outpatient treatments to maintain health care in rural areas, experts say. According to experts and hospitals, the traditional distinction between outpatient care in a doctor’s office and inpatient care would have to partially disappear. However, the financial implications for the hospitals are unclear, many of which after two years of Corona are in great danger.

“We need solid basic care in rural areas, which can often be provided by good outpatient offers, complemented by nursing offers and linked to specialists in the centers,” says Boris Augurzky, head of health department at the RWI Essen economic research institute. and a member of the government committee of the federal hospital. “It will also be important to link rural offers with medical know-how in centers via telemedicine.”

The topic this Wednesday at the top-class expert forum of the organizer of the RS Medical Consult conference in Berlin. Future vision: “Some small clinics can completely change their role,” says Augurzky. “Away from hospital care, towards a large clinic with telemedicine docking to centers, possibly supplemented with bed monitoring and short-term care.”

The watchword is “outpatient treatment”. The Berlin federal government has also made this a priority. The average age of resident doctors in Germany is mid-1950s.

Clinics are keen: “It would be an advantage, for example, to concentrate the limited available specialist staff, especially in nursing, on patients with greater care needs in the hospital area,” says Henriette Neumeyer, vice president of the German Hospital Association (DKG). In April, an inter-association report recommended broadening the so-called AOP Directory for Outpatient Surgery.

But even in the future, not everyone with a cold will be able to go to a hospital consultation. “Many of the cases that are currently hospitalized can also be performed on an outpatient basis; I’m counting on about 20 percent, ”says Augurzky. “However, these are probably more complex outpatient cases that require more effort, and in the event of complications, they may use hospital equipment, specialist staff, and beds.”

At least some hospitals hope that thanks to outpatient treatment, they will be able to improve their financial situation according to a simple formula: more patients, higher income.

However, the hopes of health insurance companies go in exactly the opposite direction: if clinics could treat more outpatients, they would also have to operate less. For years, insurance representatives have far too often accused hospitals of operating on their patients – because the operations generate sales.

Augurzky and DKG therefore emphasize that outpatient treatment would not necessarily improve the financial situation of clinics.

“They need to reduce hospitalizations and build outpatient infrastructure,” says Augurzky. “And most of all, hospital staff working there on an outpatient basis have to rethink this, which means that they no longer have to think ‘stationary’, which can lead to high costs.” Therefore, Augurzky recommends the cooperation of hospitals with doctors in private practice.

“To what extent more outpatient treatment options would improve the economic situation of hospitals cannot be answered in a general way and depends largely on the accompanying framework conditions,” says DKG Vice-President Neumeyer.

The government commission unveiled in May is expected to explicitly examine the potential savings: “The possibility of outpatient treatment of previously unnecessary hospital services is also the subject of a government hospital commission,” explains a spokesman for the Berlin Ministry of Health.

There is no doubt that many homes are financially bad. About 60 percent of hospitals in Germany are counting on economic losses over the past year, says Neumeyer.

High inflation exacerbated clinics’ financial problems as electricity, food and medical products became more expensive. According to the political guidelines, they are to work economically, but unlike companies, they cannot raise prices on their own.

“We now need a clear adjustment to inflation in the short term for the hospitals to work,” says Neumeyer. Politicians would have to financially arm hospitals for another sharp rise in coronavirus cases in the fall.

Many poviat offices already have a terrifying idea: in the near future, both the doctor’s office and the local poviat hospital may be forced to close. / Cho / DP / zb

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