BERLIN (dpa-AFX) - Hospitals in Germany are to be under less financial pressure and specialize more in treatments. This is the aim of legislative plans by Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), which the cabinet launched on Wednesday. The reform is intended to change the current remuneration system with flat rates for treatment cases. In future, clinics are to receive 60 percent of their remuneration for providing certain services. The basis for financing by the health insurance funds is also to be more precisely defined "service groups". They are to describe certain hospital treatments more precisely and ensure uniform national quality standards.

Lauterbach said that the government was pulling the emergency brake with the reform: "Without changing the structures of inpatient care, there is a risk of hospital insolvencies, poor treatment and long distances." The new regulations should guarantee good inpatient treatment for everyone in an ageing society. "We will therefore replace flat rates per case, which currently often determine medical practice, with flat rates per case and quality specifications. Then medical need will determine treatment, not economics."

The federal states have raised objections to the plans. However, Lauterbach has no longer designed the law in such a way that it requires approval in the Bundesrat. The draft will now be discussed in the Bundestag. The law is set to come into force at the beginning of 2025, with concrete implementation to follow step by step in the years thereafter./sam/DP/zb