German hospitals facing dire financial shortfall
Faced with rising numbers of coronavirus patients, and therefore postponing routine operations to keep beds free, the German healthcare system is in a tense situation. And now the alarm has been sounded: Germany’s hospitals are running out of money.
Hospitals in Germany running out of money
“If the federal government does not significantly increase aid, hospitals will no longer be able to pay their employees’ salaries in the first quarter of 2021,” said the President of the German Hospital Society, Gerald Gaß, on Wednesday. “The money that we usually get from standard care is missing.”
Hospitals in Germany are in a particularly tight financial situation because of operating restrictions caused by coronavirus. By postponing routine operations and surgeries to keep beds free for COVID-19 patients, they are losing out on a significant chunk of their regular income. Gaß said that this was pushing hospitals into a “dramatic situation.”
Federal government’s rescue package insufficient
The Hospital Society is therefore urgently demanding more funding - a so-called “liquidity safeguard” - from the federal government. In mid-December, the Ministry of Health unveiled a new rescue package for hospitals in Germany, whereby compensation payments were to be handed out to clinics that forewent routine medical interventions to keep beds free.
However, from the Hospital Society’s point of view, this concept is by no means sufficient. According to Gaß, the new rescue package is “only a minimal improvement” that covers just 25 percent of hospitals in Germany. Back in the spring, when there were half as many COVID-19 patients in hospital, the equivalent rescue package applied to all German hospitals.
According to the German Hospital Institute, two thirds of all hospital operators expect losses in 2020. Accordingly, only around 18 percent of the almost 2.000 hospitals in Germany, which collectively employee 1,3 million people, rate their current economic situation as “good”.