Germany’s CDU suggests patients should pay 20-euro fee to visit A&E
Germany’s opposition, the CDU / CSU sister parties have suggested that people in Germany should face a 20-euro fee for visiting accident and emergency if they do not call in advance of their trip.
CDU / CSU push for 20-euro medical emergency fee
According to reports by the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland (RND), Germany’s opposition party is supporting a parliamentary motion that would see people in medical emergencies face a 20-euro fee if they visit A&E without first receiving medical advice by telephone.
The new policy would mean that patients who weren’t brought to A&E by emergency services or have not been referred by a doctor would be required to first call emergency services and receive medical advice via phone. During the call they would be initially assessed and if necessary, given an appointment to visit the emergency room.
If a patient were to show up to A&E unannounced, they would be required to pay 20 euros. Currently, all visits to emergency services are free at the point of use in Germany for anyone who is covered by German health insurance.
Union defends the Danish emergency room model
According to the sister parties, such a model would help to relieve over-burdened emergency rooms. “In Germany, we would like to introduce a model similar to that which exists in Denmark, to ensure that real medical emergencies can be dealt with quickly at A&E and that services won’t be backlogged by patients with trivial complaints,” CSU Health Minister Stephan Pilsinger told the RND.
Last month, President of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) Andreas Gassen expressed a similar sentiment. “Anyone who can get to A&E by themselves is often not in a medical emergency,” the president told RND.
So far, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and the German Foundation for Patient Protection have both rejected the proposal. In response to the CDU / CSU claims that the new plan would help to ease over-burdened emergency rooms, Foundation chairperson Eugen Brysch said that German hospitals don't currently have a problem with patients making unnecessary visits.
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