Bankruptcy risk lurking in German hospitals

The German newspaper Tagus Zeitung wrote in a report: One out of five clinics in Germany is at risk of bankruptcy, and especially small clinics lack money. Hospital reforms have been considered by the government to alleviate their conditions. But for many clinics, the health reform law will come too late.

Three hospitals in Germany closed their doors permanently in June alone.

What happened in these three small hospitals – the closing of a hospital or some departments due to lack of money – threatens many hospitals in this country. According to the German Hospital Association (DKG), out of a total of 1,887 hospitals, one in four or five are at risk of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy especially threatens small clinics that are struggling with declining patient numbers. But some of the larger hospitals are also in a precarious financial position: costs for all clinics are rising due to inflation and the energy crisis, while revenue is stagnant. Of course, there is no end to the wave of closures in the medium term, even with hospital reforms agreed by federal and state health ministers last Monday that are set to bring improvements; Because for many clinics these reforms will come too late.

However, reforming hospitals in this country is urgently needed and there is a consensus among politicians, hospitals and employees. One thing is undeniable, and that is that Germany spends a lot of money on hospital treatment, but achieves only average quality in European comparison. Of course, changing these conditions is a big project.

Hospital reform is also a complex matter, as it affects both the jurisdictions of the federal government and the states that share responsibility for hospitals. Among other things, the federal states are obliged to cover essential investments, for example in buildings, medical technology and digitization. They have not been able to adequately meet this for a long time, which means additional financial concerns for many clinics.

In another part of this article, it is stated: Several years should pass before the government’s proposed reforms show their effects.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said on Monday that the reforms would ensure the existence of rural hospitals. However, it is not a total guarantee of survival for hospitals. The minister also repeatedly emphasizes that the oversupply should be reduced. Consequently, this means more closures.

The Ministry of Health has not yet announced how many and which hospitals should be closed in order to reduce the excess supply on the one hand and ensure security on the other hand. So it is unclear what the outlook for hospitals will be when these reforms are implemented in the next few years.


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