A recent report produced by Prognos on behalf of the GKV Spitzenverbandes has called for a reduction of revenues for doctors. The current remuneration could be reduced by EUR 2.2 billion, according to Prognos. One result of the report was that the income received by doctors had increased significantly more than their costs.
The stance of the Kassenärztlichen Bundesvereinigung (KBV) could not be further away, calling for EUR 3.5 billion more. Thus, GKV want a 7% reduction, and KBV want an 11% increase.
An assessment committee is currently in the background holding fee negotiations for the year 2013. By the 31st August, the new benchmarks should be set for the year ahead. Should the two parties be unable to come to an agreement, the decision made by the assessment committee will be upheld, which consists of 3 independent parties.
As expected, this ongoing dispute could have dramatic and permanent impacts upon the relationship of the GKV and KBV. Doctors are up in arms over the dispute, and have already planned action for the 1st September with November strikes scheduled in the form of practice closures. The decision of the GKV to call for a reduction in medical fees will be reflected in the daily interaction with patients, and thus the GKV has done itself no favours.
Public health insurance companies must be aware of the consequences that announcing fee reduction plans will do within the public, and the damage these can do. This would suggest that this issue will also play a role in other areas of care, such as the health appliances market.
Sounds from the GKV are that they are becoming tougher, for instance the current debate within hospitals on the quantity-related remuneration for elective surgery.
Despite their wealth, health insurance companies never tire of denouncing excessive spending and rising healthcare costs. Therefore, even for developments of aids and auxiliaries in the healthcare market, no reimbursements are given. Here, too, stagnant or declining reimbursements should be expected in the future.