Doctors deny bribery with catch premiums

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Doctors outraged at the allegation of bribery

According to a recent study commissioned by the umbrella organization for statutory health insurance, many doctors collect so-called “catch premiums” for referring patients to certain clinics or colleagues. The medical profession vehemently rejects this allegation. A similar charge had already been made in 2009.

Doctors and clinics under general suspicion As the news portal "" reports, the Coburg family and specialists vehemently resist the accusation of bribery. You would be fed up with general suspicion. General practitioner Thomas Scheller, like many other doctors, feels suspected of collecting “catch premiums” for referring his patients to certain clinics, colleagues and institutions. The accusations came about on the basis of a current study commissioned by the umbrella organization of statutory health insurance companies. "They collect six-figure salaries themselves and only do lobbying," criticizes Scheller. Already in 2009 there was a similar complaint against the doctors. Many Coburg physicians responded with a publicly posted affidavit in which they rejected all allegations of bribery. Some of the explanations still hang in the doctor's office today. "We only feel committed to our patients and, if necessary, refer them to where they can get the best treatment," emphasizes Scheller

Will freelance doctors soon be history? Such bribery would be a case for the prosecutor, explains internist Helmut Keller. “Our professional regulations alone prohibit this. We decide on referrals based on medical and not financial considerations, "he explains. General practitioner Oliver Gregor is also very critical of the allegations and relates to the current medical day. It is very likely that there will again be financial claims for the Training of future doctors would be provided. "Prevention is already done by criminalizing the doctors."

Like many of his colleagues, the family doctor suspects that there will no longer be any freelance doctors in the future. The patients would then be taken over by share-oriented companies. "And the health insurance companies would like us to be their servants," adds Gregor. Thomas Scheller is of a similar opinion: "We freelancers only disturb the system." There is a close connection between the interests of politics and health insurance companies.

Apart from the doctors, there are also allegations of corruption against the clinics, because they are supposed to pay the “catch premiums” for referring patients. Mario Bahmann, Managing Director of the Coburg Clinic explains according to "": "This accusation is not new. And precisely because we know this attitude, we are very sensitive to these things. It is out of the question for us to offer the doctors money. "However, he admits that this could possibly happen in metropolitan areas due to the competition.

However, there is a close connection between the clinic and resident doctors when it comes to training future doctors. Young doctors who complete their training at the Coburg Clinic can do the practical part in practices of general practitioners. "And there is no money flowing," emphasizes the general practitioner Bernhard Hillenbrand. There are separate employment contracts. The training doctors would not even be rewarded for the increased expenditure of time.

According to the study, catch premiums are not uncommon. Director of studies Professor Kai Bussmann from the Economy & Crime Research Center at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, together with his team, examined the premium payments to doctors on behalf of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds. The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds reports in the press release that the study "is based on a self-assessment and industry assessment of medical service providers regarding the knowledge and application of legal norms and the practice of targeted referrals". Accordingly, allocations against premium payment are not isolated cases.

For the study, 180 senior managers from inpatient facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation and spa facilities, 600 resident specialists and 361 non-medical service providers were interviewed, including pharmacists, orthopedic therapists and medical supply stores. The evaluation revealed that 14 percent of the medical professionals surveyed stated that allocations against economic benefits were common. 35 percent stated that bonuses were at least partially customary. 20 percent said that such an approach to other doctors or service providers is often the case. In inpatient facilities, the “catch premiums” seem to be the order of the day. 24 percent of respondents in this area stated that assignments were common practice. (ag)

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