Somewhere over the sea Blackmore's nightgulls

Clinic Definitions: The content matters


Starting in 2020, the Association Clinic Stimiomed is to develop into an "interdisciplinary health center" at all three locations from Ansbach via Rothenburg to Dinkelsbühl, again: at all three, so it's not just about the two basic providers! Clinic director Dr. Sontheimer finally made the term socially acceptable in the panel discussion, which the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) brought up with the study it commissioned. It therefore calls for the introduction of "intersectoral" health centers. The German Hospital Society sees it very differently and fears the transformation of rural hospitals into "outpatient treatment centers with supervised sleeping". The truth could be somewhere in between, the devil is in the details and the more powerful advocate is likely to prevail.

Even this crucial debate about hospital locations is only part of the wide-ranging debate about the future of our hospital and healthcare system. The panel discussion of the Mediroth Hospital Funding Association in Rothenburg ob der Tauber was only a cautious introduction to the topic, because now things are really getting started. It soon becomes clear whether the protest slogans about the “death of clinics disguised as a health center” really apply.

Clinic manager Dr. Gerhard Sontheimer is experienced in large structures: With “Gesundheit Nord-Hessen” he ran a holding stock company for six hospitals and, as a tough restructuring specialist, was considerably offended by politicians and doctors. That is the fate of a manager who has to take action in order to be successful in the matter, he can counter. In the end, Kassel's mayor confirmed that he had "fundamentally and innovatively restructured the hospital network and done everything to maintain the health of North Hesse as a central element of communal services of general interest".

Of course, one cannot overlook the turbulent and extremely cost-intensive early years of Stimiomed since 2013, Sontheimer has taken over the legacy, is under pressure and has not even been in office for two years. For the 58-year-old, saving the association could become a life's work. Suggestiomed is doomed to success, if the concept fails, there is likely to be a takeover by a private company if the local authority no longer has any desire for an annual deficit of ten million euros.

To constantly refer politically to Berlin's responsibilities and the coffers is too easy, because local and state politics develop what ultimately reaches the federal government and the legislature. After all, Suggestiomed is a municipal company of the city of Ansbach and the district. As taxpayers, citizens are, so to speak, co-financiers and employees. It is therefore important to raise one's voice effectively at the grassroots level. This is also why the petition from Rothenburg, which is now causing a sensation nationwide, is so important because it expresses the legitimate concerns of the population in the health sector.

In metropolitan areas, patients can usually choose from a wide range of hospitals and everything is just around the corner. But there is also, for example, the district of Ansbach as the largest area in Bavaria (32nd place in Germany), in which three clinics (geographically distributed like a triangle) make sense - especially since two of them have a catchment area in Württemberg.

If the existing specialist departments in Rothenburg (including the excellent cardiological services) and Dinkelsbühl could actually be retained, if the hospital character basically remained and even resident doctors were added, everyone would probably be happy. Then in the end it should be called an “integrated, interdisciplinary or other” health center - what matters is what is really inside the new packaging! “You should recognize them by their deeds” applies to the hospital board as well as to the responsible politicians.

A comment by ROLF DIBA