Berlin Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) wants to prevent the purchase of medical practices by financial investors in the future. “I put a stop to investors buying up medical practices with absolute greed for profit,” said the SPD politician to “Bild am Sonntag”.
“There is a fatal trend for investors to buy up medical care centers with different specialist practices in order to then operate them with maximum profit,” criticized the minister. In the first quarter of 2023, he will present a bill “that will prevent these locusts from entering doctor’s offices.”
This year, reports had accumulated that financial investors reached for medical practices. The ARD magazine “Panorama” reported in April that hundreds, “possibly even thousands, of doctor’s seats” had been bought. Eye doctor practices are particularly attractive for investors.
In June, the health ministers of the federal states asked the federal government to examine legal regulations to limit the influence of private investors in the establishment and operation of medical care centers (MVZ). Health experts have been complaining for a long time that medical practices are increasingly being taken over by profit-oriented companies and that more and more doctors’ offices are being pooled in MVZs.
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Large practice chains are also a thorn in the side of the Federal Minister of Health. “The practices must belong to those who actually work there. Then there will be an end to a celebrity doctor lending his name to dozens of practices in which young doctors practice hamster wheel medicine with useless, poor-quality treatments in order to achieve absurd profit goals.
In general, Lauterbach believes that returns in the double-digit percentage range in the healthcare sector are “not justifiable”. “If you get a return of ten percent or more, then that’s hardly possible with reputable medicine,” said the minister. Basically, the “absurd profit concept” in the health system must be changed.
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