European Union of Private Hospitals

Private hospital owners criticise key points for hospital reform

Berlin, 24.05.2023 – In the opinion of the BDPK, the current hospital reform plans of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) misjudge elementary care requirements. The goals set by the politicians themselves would not be achieved with the planned reform instruments, which is why a course correction is absolutely necessary.

The reason for the BDPK’s criticism, which is summarised in a detailed statement, is a key points paper presented by the BMG on the current federal-state talks on the planned hospital reform. The private hospital owners criticise above all that the centralisation of hospital locations envisaged by the BMG makes no distinction whatsoever between urban and rural as well as over- and under-supplied areas. In addition, only the number of specialist departments would lead to the allocation to the planned care levels; quality aspects would not be taken into account. The rigid care levels would have the consequence that the hospitals in Level 1i would no longer be regularly included in the hospital plans of the Länder and would not have a sufficient economic basis for existence. This template-like strategy would lead to large hospital complexes in conurbations, while numerous smaller, need-based and efficient hospitals would have to be closed. This would contradict the guiding principle of equality of living conditions and would also be virtually impossible to realise, since the BMG has neither financing nor implementation plans for such a restructuring. However, these would be necessary, as it would lead to a massive shift of treatment and staff capacities to the remaining centralised hospitals. The BDPK therefore demands that the hospital reform, in cooperation with the federal states, be oriented towards the need for care in the regions and that proven structures be strengthened instead of being dismantled.

In addition to other weaknesses in the content of the current reform proposals, the BDPK also takes up in its statement the widespread idea that hospitals would be freed from economic constraints by the introduction of reserve financing. Since no additional financial resources have been earmarked so far and a considerable case number reference remains in addition to the reserve flat rate, the BDPK doubts that this well-intentioned instrument will have the desired effect in the form currently envisaged. In addition, the BDPK fears that hundreds of hospitals will have to close down even before the reform comes into force due to galloping inflation and the development of deficits. The most urgent task of politics is to prevent the impending uncontrolled structural change with numerous insolvencies and hospital closures.

Content published on the BDPK website