Health: The idea for an emergency room fee meets with widespread rejection

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has rejected Andreas Gassen's idea for an emergency room fee.

Health: The idea for an emergency room fee meets with widespread rejection

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has rejected Andreas Gassen's idea for an emergency room fee. The restructuring of emergency care is being discussed intensively - but not about a fee, which is why the proposal has no prospect of being implemented, said the SPD politician on Wednesday in Berlin.

Gassen had advocated that patients should pay a fee if they go directly to the emergency room without first calling the control center and without it being necessary: ​​“Anyone who can still go to an emergency room themselves is often not a real medical doctor Emergency," Gassen told the editorial network Germany.

It is often argued that emergency room fees are anti-social. "In my opinion, however, it is antisocial to use the emergency service inappropriately and thus endanger the lives of other people," said Gassen. "Anyone who continues to go directly to the emergency room without first calling the control center may have to pay an emergency fee, because that costs the solidarity community more money and ties up medical resources unnecessarily."

The German Foundation for Patient Protection criticized the initiative. The proposal was unjustified, said foundation board member Eugen Brysch. "Because there can be no question of mass abuse of the emergency rooms. After all, almost every second person would turn to the medical on-call service for non-life-threatening complaints."

You have to do your homework first

Patients are often unable to interpret the severity of their symptoms. It is also often difficult for physicians to make a non-specialist diagnosis. "That's why the associations of panel doctors have to do their homework first," Brysch demanded. In addition to the expansion and specialization of the medical on-call service, this also applies to adequate opening times for the established medical practices and the offer of home visits.

The president of the social association VdK, Verena Bentele, described Gassen's proposal as surprising. In her experience, the medical on-call service of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians quickly referred sick people to the emergency room, “since it is obviously not optimally staffed.” Bentele also rejects a fee. "What we really need is a reform of emergency care that leads to a uniform and, above all, functioning procedure. There must be a uniform emergency number with a competent initial assessment and a clearly defined procedure for further treatment," she demanded.

In fact, some clinics will even refer patients to their emergency room if they are unable to get them an appointment in the appropriate department within a reasonable timeframe.

The association of senior hospital doctors considers an emergency room fee to be impractical. President Michael Weber told the newspapers of the Bayern media group that experience with the former practice fee had shown: "With such fees, the effort is greater than the income." Adequate funding for emergency care would be more important, Weber added.

Bartsch calls for a move away from profit thinking

Dietmar Bartsch, chairman of the parliamentary group Die Linke in the Bundestag, also expressed criticism of the initiative. Emergency rooms are hopelessly overwhelmed, but blaming patients for it borders on shabbiness, the politician wrote on Twitter. He called for a "180 degree turn away from profit thinking in health policy". Hospitals don't have to pay off first and foremost, they have to make people healthy.

Green health politician Janosch Dahmen dismissed the proposal for an emergency room fee as "misleading and dangerous". "People with an acute medical problem must be able to rely on the fact that they will be helped in the emergency room at any time, regardless of their wallet," said Dahmen of the German Press Agency in Berlin.

In many places, people with simple medical problems are already unable to find an appointment in a doctor's office for weeks, said Dahmen. "The currently incomplete basic care, especially that of general practitioners, means that some medical problems become emergencies in the first place." The expansion of the supply of emergency service practices in the emergency rooms must now have priority. For people in need, it shouldn't matter which number you dial or where you go in the healthcare system. "You have to get help anytime, anywhere. Fees are dangerous for patients and lead to a dead end."

NEXT NEWS