Patients are often underserved

Patients are often underserved

Patients with serious illnesses are often undersupplied

As society ages, more and more medical supplies such as medication, rollators or pacemakers are needed for the needy. However, the supply of aids and remedies is often regionally dependent and also incorrectly documented. A current report from the Barmer GEK evaluated the data of their patients for the tenth time. In total, the data from around nine million patients were taken into account.

The health insurance companies are experiencing a significant increase in expenditure on medicines and aids. Expenditures for applications such as physiotherapy and speech therapy increased by 7.1 percent in the first half of 2014. Aid expenses, which include wheelchairs and hearing aids, increased by 9.5 percent.

Care bottlenecks in patient care The GEK criticized that there are indications of various care situations for patients. For example, diabetics are often poorly cared for. People suffering from diabetes need special foot care from podiatrists to prevent nerve damage. However, the analyzes show that 75 percent of those affected are not treated podiatrically, which in the worst case would result in an amputation. The use of podiatry by patients is very different regionally. The report reveals that care for patients with open wounds is also poor. Only 40 percent of patients with an open ulcer on the lower leg (leg ulcers) would receive compression therapy.

"In the opinion of the experts, their omission is a treatment error," says Dr. Rolf-Ulrich Schlenker, deputy chairman of the board of the Barmer GEK.

According to the report, approximately 210,000 people are affected by lower leg disorders affecting these veins. In cooperation with the health insurance companies, some wound centers are trying to close these treatment gaps.

In 2013, 5.26 billion euros were spent on medicines With the item of physiotherapy leading the way, statutory health insurance funds spent around 5.26 billion euros on medicines throughout 2013. Aid costs amounted to around 6.8 billion euros. That is an increase of 5 percent compared to the previous year. The Barmer GEK criticizes that "for medical device approvals, often only a self-declaration defined by the manufacturer is sufficient to bring new products onto the market". The usefulness of such aids for patients is therefore not checked. (bn)

Image: Kai Niemeyer /

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