DRK blames federal states for high care costs

Photo: Senior woman with helper (archive), via dts news agency

Berlin (dts) – The German Red Cross President Gerda Hasselfeldt is calling for a fundamental change of course in German nursing policy. The situation in nursing homes is “extremely worrying,” she told “Ippen-Media.”

Hasselfeldt complains about the ever-increasing costs for those in need of care, both in terms of the care contribution and the patient's own contribution. "There are many people in need of care, for example in the outpatient sector, who refuse services because they would have to pay too much themselves. The consequence of this is that people in need of care are increasingly under-served," said the DRK President. She sees the federal states in particular as having a responsibility here, as they play a central role in financing care.

"The high personal contribution is due, among other things, to the fact that many federal states do not meet their legal obligations for investment expenditure on care facilities," added Hasselfeldt, referring to the corresponding regulation in the Social Code. It stipulates that the federal states must ensure an efficient and sufficient care structure, but they can effectively avoid this financing obligation by being allowed to pass on part of the costs for such investments to the care facilities and thus ultimately to those in need of care.

For Hasselfeldt, this is an unacceptable situation: "The obligation to do so described in the law is unfortunately vaguely worded, which is why many states do not pay enough and the costs for people in need of care are therefore rising." She calls on the states to live up to their responsibility and advocates a base-top swap in care financing.

"In the future, people in need of care will have to pay a fixed amount for care depending on the level. Anything above that will come from the nursing care fund. At the moment it is the other way round and people's own contribution is increasing year after year," says Hasselfeldt. In addition to a predictable cost structure for people, the DRK President also advocates better working conditions and more skills for nursing staff.