Ahead of a meeting with local associations, Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is applying pressure on states governed by the Union. He has issued a warning about the potential rise in hospital fatalities unless Union-led states consent to the approval of the planned hospital assistance outlined in the Transparency Act during the Federal Council session in February.
Lauterbach conveyed his concern, stating, "The delay in urgently needed hospital reforms disproportionately affects cities and municipalities. They oversee numerous clinics and must be accountable for any deficits," as reported by the Düsseldorf-based "Rheinische Post" on Monday. Coping with these multimillion burdens has become increasingly challenging.
"More than 100 hospitals are at risk of bankruptcy in 2024 if the law is not enacted," Lauterbach emphasized. Hence, he stressed the necessity for the Transparency Act to be approved by the Federal Council on February 2nd. Lauterbach argued that the transparency law, currently in a state of suspension, could inject six billion euros into hospitals nationwide. "This additional funding would enhance personnel costs, and patients would gain insights into the services and quality offered by each hospital," explained Lauterbach.
He underscored that the Transparency Act would provide the time and conditions for the actual hospital reform draft to be presented in February as a legislative proposal.
Simultaneously, Uwe Brandl, the President of the German Association of Cities and Municipalities, urged prompt assistance for hospitals. He stated, "We anticipate a revitalization of hospital structural reform. It is imperative for the federal government to establish the financial groundwork for this reform," reported the "Rheinische Post."
Brandl warned that without adequate resources, the survival of hospitals is at risk, and the proposed reform is destined for failure. Both federal and state governments perceive it as their responsibility to allocate funds to ensure local medical care and create a sustainable hospital landscape.
"The municipalities must not become guarantors of default due to the lack of funding from the federal government and health insurance companies," added the association president. Operating costs would have left many hospitals in the red by 2023. Brandl cautioned that with the further tariff increase this year, hospitals will face additional pressure, leading to an increased likelihood of filing for insolvency proceedings. (KNA)
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