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Doctors leave the negotiating table: strike is approaching

Doctors leave the negotiating table: strike is approaching

Negotiation between health insurance companies and doctors burst: medical profession plans strike

Today, the next round of negotiations between doctors and health insurers should finally bring an agreement to the conflict over an appropriate remuneration for the doctors. But the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians is so disappointed with the results so far that it has surprisingly left the negotiating table. The negotiations broke not only because of the concrete results, but above all because of the atmosphere in which these negotiations took place, explained the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.

According to a message from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), the relationship of trust between health insurance companies and the medical profession has suffered considerable damage in the past weeks of negotiations. KBV CEO Dr. Andreas Köhler spoke to about seven hundred contract doctors and psychotherapists in Berlin at the weekend about "constantly new smear campaigns, the sole aim of which is to portray doctors as cheaters, fraudsters and greedy rip-offs." There are "currently no current decisions, neither on the amount of the prices of the medical services, nor on the total remuneration due to the change in the state of illness of the population", according to the KBV. The arbitrator was now asked to convene a new meeting within 14 days, depending on the interim discussions with the executive boards of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds whether the medical profession would then be present. If an amicable solution is not reached, strikes and practice closures are possible.

Relationship of trust between doctors and health insurance companies shattered At the weekend, KBV boss Köhler sharply criticized the behavior of health insurance companies in the current negotiations at a special meeting of representatives of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Berlin that was scheduled at short notice. Dealing with the doctors is "an attack on the dignity of an entire profession, which enjoys the highest reputation in the population like no other," emphasized Köhler. Due to the behavior of the statutory health insurance (GKV), the “relationship of trust between the two sides has suffered considerable damage in the past few weeks,” according to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. The arbitration award, which was supposed to show the way to an agreement, had overflowed the barrel. The arbitration board of doctors and statutory health insurers (extended evaluation committee for contract medical care), chaired by the independent health economist Professor Jürgen Wasem, passed a proposal last week for the future remuneration of doctors, which would increase the fees of the approximately 150,000 resident doctors and psychotherapists by a total It provided 270 million euros (0.9 percent). According to the calculation of the health insurance companies, the remuneration per doctor could rise by an average of 1,800 euros per year. Negotiations should be concluded today based on these figures.

Lawsuit against planned increase in doctor's fees However, in the doctors' opinion, the adjustments proposed by the evaluation committee are far from sufficient. In the current negotiations, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians had demanded an increase in remuneration by a total of 3.5 billion euros (eleven percent), so that the significantly increased operating costs and inflation since 2008 can be offset. The proposed fee increase of 0.9 percent would amount to a real loss of income of around ten percent, reports the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. The outrage among the medical profession about the compromise committee's compromise proposal was correspondingly high. The KBV criticized that this would jeopardize the maintenance of outpatient contract medical care. Several medical associations had already threatened protests, closings and strikes should the 0.9 percent increase in fees be maintained. KBV boss Köhler asked the "Federal Ministry of Health to object to the decision of the Extended Evaluation Committee to raise the orientation value by 0.9 percent" and "also announced that it would file a lawsuit with the Berlin-Brandenburg Social Court", the health insurance physician announced Federal association.

Discussions between representatives of the health insurance companies and the medical community in a small group After the official exit from the negotiations, small-scale discussions should now be held with the top representatives of the health insurance association, reports the KBV. Here, some fundamental questions would have to be clarified before the resident doctors return to the negotiating table, explained Andreas Köhler. Those responsible for the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds would have accepted the invitation of the medical profession for a top-level discussion in the coming days. If these discussions remain without an amicable result, strikes and closings are the last option. In view of the doctors' strike and lawsuit threats, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds yesterday asked the doctors to “be more reasonable and return to objectivity”. Because “the resident doctors are about a professional group that really earns very well on average. It does not necessarily require much more money, it is primarily about the fair distribution between the different groups of doctors, so that, for example, the country doctors are paid appropriately, "said Florian Lanz, spokesman for the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds. According to the statements of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, many doctors are simply concerned with their existence.

Federal Minister of Health does not want to intervene in the negotiations The Federal Ministry of Health has so far remained extremely covered, despite the call from the medical profession to intervene. The Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr (FDP) had already announced that he did not want to get involved in the negotiations. The negotiations between the health insurance companies and doctors about adequate remuneration must be brought to an end by the negotiating partners. Only the formalities and the procedure can be checked by the ministry. The Ministry is not responsible for a general objection to the controversial arbitration award by the Extended Evaluation Committee. If the health insurance companies and doctors agree on a different solution, the arbitration award can be revised within two months. It is difficult to assess the chances of success of the previously announced lawsuit before the Berlin-Brandenburg Social Court, as an agreement has so far generally been reached at the latest in the Extended Evaluation Committee. However, the lawsuit has a suspensive effect, so that the decision of the arbitration board will not become final for the time being. (fp)

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