Berlin - Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) has recently initiated several reforms in the health system and care. As of January 1st, some legislative changes came into force. An overview of important innovations.
Some things can be felt directly in people's wallets: The contribution to long-term care insurance increases by 0.5 percentage points to 3.05 percent and to 3.3 percent for childless people. This is used to finance the improvements in benefits made in recent years: the number of people who receive long-term care insurance benefits has risen sharply due to the redefinition of the need for long-term care. In December 2017, 3.41 million people received benefits - 19 percent more than in 2015.
At the same time, employees and Pensioners are relieved of the contributions to the statutory health insurance (GKV). From January, the employer and employee will pay the contribution in equal parts again. The additional contribution rate to be set by the health insurance companies is also paid equally by employees and employers or by pensioners and pension insurance. The average additional contribution rate for 2019 has been reduced to 0.9 percent (2018: 1.0 percent).
In order to improve care, hospitals will in future have to comply with minimum nursing staff limits. By ordinance, these minimum limits were initially set for four “care-sensitive areas”: intensive care, geriatrics, cardiology and trauma surgery.
In first step, 13,000 new jobs are to be created for nursing in old people's and nursing homes. They are financed by the health insurance companies. In order to improve the staffing also in hospital care, every additional position there is fully refinanced by the health insurances. They also pay for additional costs due to higher collective agreements. In home nursing, collectively agreed wages must be accepted by the health insurances.
In addition, the law creates incentives for more training positions: unlike in the past, the remuneration of trainees in child nursing, nursing and nursing care in the first year of training will be abolished 2019 fully covered by the health insurances.
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Nursing experts have repeatedly emphasized that better pay is the only thing Staff shortages in nursing will not close. It is also about improving working conditions - not least to encourage part-time workers or dropouts to increase their working hours or to return to work.
Nursing facilities and hospitals will therefore also receive financial support in the future to improve the compatibility of family and work for employees who work in nursing. The health insurance companies also have to spend around 70 million euros more each year on corporate health promotion services in hospitals and care facilities. Digitization is also being promoted in order to reduce bureaucracy. The long-term care insurance provides 12,000 euros once per facility (outpatient or inpatient).
At the same time, the family carers should be strengthened - after all, the latest statistics show that without them, care in Germany would collapse. 76 percent of all recipients of benefits or 2.59 million people in need of care continue to live in their own four walls. 1.76 million of them are cared for by relatives alone, which means huge effort for many.
Caring relatives should therefore have easier access to inpatient medical rehabilitation services in the new year. If the person in need of care can be cared for in the rehabilitation facility at the same time, the health insurance companies will cover the costs, otherwise they will provide care.