Munich - The Hospital Structure Act will change the work of hospital doctors. How practitioner evaluates the new requirements, reports Steffen Massberg, Director of the Medical Clinic and Polyclinic I at the University of Munich Clinic.
Five questions to Steffen Massberg, University of Munich Clinic
DÄ: What will improve for patients and doctors as result of the Hospital Structure Act? Please state the most important aspects:
Massberg: The central goal of the Hospital Structure Act is to further improve the quality of hospital care in Germany. Of course, this primarily benefits our patients, who can expect even better treatment. In addition, in the course of the Hospital Structure Act, the financing of hospital operating costs is to be improved. It is to be hoped that this better cost recovery will also be used to optimize the working conditions for doctors accordingly. In addition, the nursing surcharge will strengthen nursing at the hospitals. This is an important signal in times of threatening and progressive lack of care.
DÄ: What will get worse? Massberg: The goal of quality assessment should not lead to overregulation. The freedom of medical therapy is very valuable asset and must not be restricted by too much bureaucracy. Then, paradoxically, the opposite would indeed be achieved.
DÄ: The federal and state governments have long wanted to reduce hospital capacities. Often hospitals and patients, but also local politicians, defend themselves against it - not infrequently with success. Why should something change with the new specifications? Massberg: The new framework conditions are aimed at strengthening centers. This should be achieved through separate remuneration and also through differentiated surcharges for emergency care. This development could lead to reduction of excess hospital capacities due to increased financial pressure.
DÄ: Can remuneration based on the quality of the results improve the care or will the new requirements have the opposite effect? Massberg: The increase in quality should take place through financial surcharges or discounts depending on quality indicators, which the Federal Joint Committee, supported by the Institute for Quality Assurance and Transparency in Health Care (IQTIQ), will develop. For doctors, this means paradigm shift because the quality of their work is measured for the first time and correlated with remuneration. This is to be welcomed, since competition for the best quality will ultimately optimize patient care.
DÄ: What is missing in the Hospital Structure Act from your point of view? Massberg: The cornerstones of the Hospital Structure Act are of course to be welcomed. However, investment finance is insufficiently addressed. This aspect should not be forgotten, as optimal spatial equipment is of course essential for quality-oriented medicine.