The German Hospital Society (DKG) expects the closure of up to a fifth of the clinics in Germany. "We, as hospitals, have long accepted that we have to merge, redesign or close locations," said DKG boss Gerald Gass to the editorial network Germany.
He assumes that within ten years there will be up to 20 percent fewer clinic locations than today. That is a realistic order of magnitude to achieve a good balance between local care and specialization, said Gass before a hospital protest day planned for Tuesday. According to the Federal Statistical Office, there were around 1900 clinics in Germany in 2021.
Larger units are needed for more complex interventions in particular. "In the foreseeable future we will no longer have the staff to maintain the existing structures unchanged," he argued. Therefore, the hospital industry basically shares the goals of the hospital reform of Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD). What is needed, however, is a well-organized transformation process, with targeted mergers into larger units and the conversion of smaller clinics, for example into health centers that take care of care and minor outpatient procedures.
Lauterbach plans to draft legislation over the summer for hospital reform to go into effect in early 2024. Among other things, the focus is on uniform quality criteria and classifications of the clinic network. In addition, the remuneration system with flat rates for treatment cases is to be changed in order to free clinics from economic pressure to more and more cases at the expense of quality. In the future, they should receive secure financing just for providing certain services.