Call for medical technology industry to be more involved in outpatient care

19 April 2006


Berlin, Germany. For health insurance funds in Germany the medical devices industry is "an important partner that has hitherto not been heeded enough". Indeed, more attention must now be paid to medical devices in view of the new forms of healthcare. This was the view of Horst Bölle, Director of the claims department of the German health insurance fund for salaried employees (DAK), addressing some 100 participants at BVMed's conference "Growth market outpatient care with medical technology" in Berlin on 28 March 2006. He added that in the future, medical care with medical devices in the outpatient sector would increasingly focus on "flat-rate reimbursement models coupled with quality assurance".

For the introduction and financing of new medical technology procedures, Dr. Bernhard Rochell from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) demanded equal opportunities for the out- and inpatient sector. "Regarding hospitals as a stronghold for innovation has become outdated as a result of medical progress." He said there must be equally viable opportunities for the outpatient sector and an equal access to medical technology innovation.

BVMed Director General Joachim M. Schmitt expressed the opinion that "permission with the reservation of prohibition” was the right path to ensure flexible solutions for the hospital sector. For certain areas of medical technology he advocated increased flexibility in the financing of innovations, whereby patients would pay the difference between the actual price and the amount reimbursed by the Statutory Health Insurance funds.

This demand for a so-called "Delta financing model" was supported by Lothar Krimmel, Director of Bioscientia, and Dr. Jörg-Andreas Rüggeberg, President of the Federal Association for Outpatient Surgery. The ban on additional payments of patients for SHI services must be broken in order to make care more flexible, said Mr. Krimmel. Mr. Rüggeberg demanded a closer doctor/patient relationship, so that patients "could avoid healthcare rationing and better control their own healthcare treatment".

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