Practices closed on bridge days
Medical Association: Lauterbach cannot calculate
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Under the motto “Practice in Need” doctors want to draw attention to inadequate health policy and inadequate cooperation with health insurance companies. Health Minister Lauterbach criticizes the protest and the resulting closure of medical practices. His choice of words met with strong criticism.
Doctors in private practice in Germany protested on Monday because of the federal government’s health policy. The Virchowbund medical association and other professional associations called for practices to be closed on Bridge Day. In Berlin, doctors went to the Ministry of Health to symbolically lay down their white coats.
The Virchowbund exchanged blows with Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on the online service X, formerly Twitter. “Many practices close on Bridging Day; like the pharmacists, they also want more money. On average (median), after deducting all costs, they earn around 230,000 euros per year,” Lauterbach wrote on Sunday evening. “Should the contribution rate for employees increase so that fees continue to rise?” he asked.
The Virchowbund countered with the statement that it was “sad that the minister cannot do the math.” The numbers apply per practice and not per doctor, the net income is not a profit. The association also missed a statement “on the substantive demands of resident doctors.”
“Lauterbach is turning the healthcare system against itself”
Lauterbach also received criticism from the FDP and the Union for his communication. “It is not the job of politicians to evaluate or condemn a strike,” said the health policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Andrew Ullmann, to the Bayern media group. Resident doctors are urgently needed in the “necessary and overdue reform of the healthcare system”.
The health policy spokesman for the Union parliamentary group, Tino Sorge, told the media group that Lauterbach had “managed to turn large parts of the health system against him within two years.”
According to the Virchowbund, the protest under the motto “Practice in Need” is directed against politics and health insurance companies. The doctors criticize, among other things, that the practices are being starved by inflation, energy price increases and “inadequate financing agreements with health insurance companies for years.” A reform of the more than 30-year-old fee schedule is being deliberately delayed.
There is a risk of “months-long waiting lists” for general practitioners
Virchowbund chairman Dirk Heinrich warned on ARD that if nothing changes, patients would have to get used to “month-long waiting lists for general practitioner and specialist appointments”. The medical association also accuses Lauterbach of being too interested in hospitals and not enough in the problems of practicing doctors.
On Monday in Cologne, the professional association of pediatricians and adolescent doctors defended themselves against “inexperienced suggestions” from the government hospital commission. “The resident colleagues who treat the majority of children and young people and are ultimately allowed to pay for the half-baked reform ideas are not heard,” criticized President Thomas Fischbach.
In an interview with the Bavaria media group, the CEO of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, Andreas Gassen, predicted: “We will see that more and more doctors adapt the amount of services to the money supply.” Currently, around ten percent of services in Germany are not reimbursed. He expects that four-day weeks will become more common in practices. The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians wrote on