The government is trying to inject money into primary care medical services.

The government plans to inject money into primary care.

Karl Lauterbach, the Federal Minister of Health, is determined to improve healthcare services not only in hospitals, but also for general practitioners. This has led to the adoption of a reform aimed at stimulating general practitioner care. The Healthcare Strengthening Act has received support from the government, highlighting the need for a comprehensive overhaul of the healthcare system.

Lauterbach stated that the healthcare system needs major renewal to maintain its strength, and therefore ambulatory care reform is considered essential in addition to hospital reform. This initiative focuses on improving general practitioner care by giving them more financial flexibility. A move towards abolishing rate caps in a process known as de-budgeting is part of this reform, making the work of GPs more attractive.

Lauterbach added that patients should not be required to visit their primary care physician every three months solely for billing purposes, allowing for better allocation of resources for acute cases. Moreover, he is hopeful that the abolition of fee budgets will encourage general practitioners to accommodate more patients.

The Healthcare Enhancement Act will also facilitate the formation of municipal medical care centers (MVZ) and increase the accessibility of child and youth psychotherapy. The government wants to simplify the application procedure for psychotherapy, make it easier and more flexible. Nursing staff and patient representatives will also gain more power within the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), the central governing body in the healthcare system.

Initially, the bill proposed the introduction of health kiosks as access points for rural areas with limited medical care and structurally weak urban neighborhoods. In addition, a financing program for additional medical study places was considered. However, these proposals were heavily criticized by health insurers due to the potential financial burden of hundreds of millions.

In response, Lauterbach removed both proposals from the bill to avoid unnecessary delays in the approval process. Nevertheless, he intends to reconsider these plans during the parliamentary debates.

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