Association of osteopaths complains of wild growth in the industry
The alternative medical treatment method of osteopathy is becoming increasingly popular in Germany. However, since the profession of osteopath has not yet been recognized in this country and there is no professional law to ensure uniformly regulated training and exercise standards, there is a real "wild growth" in osteopathy offers, explained the legal advisor of the Association of Osteopaths in Germany (VDO), Dr. Sylke Wagner, on the occasion of the 15th VOD International Osteopathy Congress in Weimar.
At a press conference in the run-up to the VOD Congress, which started today, the association lawyer was not very enthusiastic about the current development in osteopathy offers. As a result of the strong increase in demand for this alternative treatment method, there is a difficult to understand "wild growth in the offers." The statutory health insurance companies, which increasingly offer osteopathy as additional services, also contributed to this, explained the legal expert of the VOD at the start of the international congress with around 400 participants from 14 countries. The head of the VOD association, Marina Fuhrmann, therefore requested state quality assurance for osteopathy on the basis of a corresponding professional law, which establishes binding training standards.
Osteopathy: treatment with hands As a treatment method in alternative medicine, osteopathy is based exclusively on treatment with hands. It is primarily used to treat functional disorders of the skeletal and musculoskeletal system. Special block techniques are used to remove existing blockages. In addition to the complaints of the musculoskeletal system, other problems such as dizziness, incontinence or heartburn can also be successfully treated on the basis of osteopathy. To date, the effectiveness of the treatment method is controversial among experts. When evaluating osteopathic procedures in 2009, the German Medical Association came to the conclusion that reasonably reliable statements on efficacy are only available for a few clinical pictures. This applies, for example, to chronic pain syndromes of the spine or chronic back pain. The VOD President Marina Fuhrmann explained that osteopathy is in particular demand from people with a long medical history who have been treated with unsuccessful conventional medicine.
Health insurance companies complicit in the uncontrolled growth of osteopaths In view of the proven success of osteopathic treatments, the costs are now also borne by some statutory health insurers (GKV). For example, the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) and some company health insurance companies bear the costs for osteopathic therapy under certain conditions. The problem of "wild growth" in the osteopathy range is further exacerbated by the completely inconsistent quality criteria for the assumption of costs by the health insurance companies, explained the association lawyer Dr. Sylke Wagner. Uniform standards are urgently needed here. However, there are also positive developments from the increased demand for osteopathy. For example, the President of the State Medical Association of Thuringia, Matthias Wesser, explains that parts of osteopathy are already being integrated into basic and advanced medical training, for example with specialists in physical and rehabilitative medicine. This extension to the alternative medical treatment concept is certainly a benefit for the patients. (fp)
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