The Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler shows no understanding for the protests of the general practitioners. The doctors fall on deaf ears with the minister.
(16.09.2010) The Federal Minister of Health Philipp Rösler (FDP) shows no understanding for the protests of the general practitioners. Yesterday, the doctors closed their practices in protest at the health care reform. So Rösler said on Wednesday in Berlin: "It is not a question of cutting fees, we want to limit increases". The medical association protests against the health care reform and for higher fees.
The Minister of Health Rösler shows no understanding for the protests.
According to the Minister of Health, there will also be more money for general practitioners next year. The higher remuneration for the controversial family doctor contracts should also be possible in 2011. The black-yellow coalition also plans to save the additional expenses, for example in the prescriptions of medicines. Rösler argued that this had been included in the draft health reform from the start. Already agreed general practitioner contracts continued to be protected, nothing should change in the future. For this reason, the FDP minister shows no understanding for the protests of the doctors: "So not every protest can be fully explained for me."
Rösler accuses the General Practitioners Association of splitting medical doctors in Germany with the practice closures and protests. Because in the protests, the position of family doctors would be explicitly discussed. The health minister said: "It is important that individual medical officials do not play off the general practitioners or the general practitioners against the specialists." Because not only specialists and general practitioners earn differently good or bad, but also general practitioners. A large number of general practitioners have concluded the general practitioner contracts, but some would be paid according to the normal fees for doctors.
An increase in general practitioner costs should be prohibited by law.
The minister wants to prohibit an increase in family doctor costs by law by limiting the increase in fees. In Rösler's view, higher doctor's fees are only acceptable if they are compensated for by efficiency increases and savings - such as when prescribing medicines. But this was exactly what the doctors' protest turned against. According to the General Practitioners' Association, even 120,000 patients should have campaigned for their family doctor and voted against the reform plans of Federal Health Minister Rösler in a signature list. "The doctors want to send a signal," said the chairman of the Hesse General Practitioners Association Dieter Conrad on Tuesday. "This kind of undersupply could be part of everyday life in five years." The family doctor association accuses the black and yellow coalition of wanting to pry the "family doctor model" out. “General practitioner-centered care” was introduced in 2007 to make general practitioners the first point of contact for patients. Many doctors see their financial existence threatened by the savings plans in the course of the health care reform.
How much do doctors actually earn?
But is the protest really legitimate or is it a "whining at a high level"? Compensation for doctors and psychotherapists rose by 11 percent between 2007 and 2009, according to an analysis by the statutory health insurers (GKV). The evaluation also showed that doctors' fees have increased much more than the average wages in Germany in the past three years. However, the increase in medical fees also depends on the federal state of practice. In Hamburg, doctors earned an average of up to 24 percent. In Lower Saxony, doctors saw an average increase of 20 percent. In other federal states, on the other hand, increases in fees were significantly lower on average. Remuneration in Baden-Württemberg rose by only 3.5 percent, and in Bavaria by only 2.6 percent. According to the GKV health insurance association, a doctor with his own practice earns an average of around 164,000 a year.
Rösler is currently putting the umbrella organization of health insurance companies and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians under massive pressure. They should participate in the medical fee negotiations and agree. On September 24, two days after the Federal Cabinet's planned decision on health reform, the health insurance companies and doctors resumed negotiations for the approximately 150,000 general practitioners in the evaluation committee.
Will there be further closings of medical practices?
The General Practitioners' Association will hold a press conference tonight and comment on the Minister's allegations. In addition, the implementation status of the contracts according to § 73b SGB V and a review of the nationwide day of action within the "Röslerol" campaign will take place. Further protests by the association are expected to follow. (sb)
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Chris Beck / pixelio.de