Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) – With the different plans for a far-reaching reform of the hospital landscape, the signs between the federal government and North Rhine-Westphalia are pointing to confrontation. Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) warned his NRW colleague Karl-Josef Laumann (CDU) on Tuesday not to go it alone with the hospital reform that has already been initiated for the most populous federal state. Laumann’s reform would “not result in any cash flows,” Lauterbach threatened on Tuesday after a visit to the SPD parliamentary group in Düsseldorf.

In the reform planned by the federal government, scientists and according to uniform criteria throughout Germany will determine which hospital can offer which services. “And then money also flows,” said SPD politician Lauterbach. “Once the service complexes have been described nationwide and the money is then flowing on this basis, there will be very little interest in Mr. Laumann’s reform.” Because if the NRW hospitals did not meet the criteria, they could no longer bill for their services.

SPD parliamentary group leader Thomas Kutschaty asked Laumann to put his plans on hold and now to coordinate them closely with the federal government. “It makes no sense now to implement your own hospital plan without taking into account the federal political framework, which will change in the coming months,” said the opposition leader in the state parliament.

Lauterbach wants to free clinics from economic pressure by, among other things, lowering the lump sums (flat rates per case) that clinics receive per patient or treatment case. This should reduce incentives to treat as many patients as possible. In return, the clinics should receive fixed amounts for providing staff, an emergency room or necessary medical technology. The Federal Council must also agree to the legislative plans – so the states have a say.

With Laumann’s reform, the hospitals are to specialize in certain services such as heart operations or knee prostheses through to obstetrics in coordination with health insurance funds, associations and the hospital society. The annual number of cases per medical service is used to determine the need. This is exactly what Lauterbach criticizes. In his opinion, this would mean that many unnecessary interventions would remain.