Crowded emergency room: is there an emergency fee?

Crowded emergency room: is there an emergency fee?

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Poll shows split result

Germany's clinics have been complaining about crowded waiting rooms in the emergency rooms for years. The stress limit has been reached, according to many clinic managers. Doctors and health insurance companies criticize the fact that more and more patients are using the emergency room on weekends or in the evenings to treat illnesses that are not essential for survival. Politicians, clinics and health insurers are now thinking out loud about an emergency room fee.

Wednesday, May 1st in the emergency room of the MHH Hannover. Clemens M. has been waiting for the doctor for 4 hours. The waiting room is filled to the last seat. "I have back pain and need medication," says M. In the garden, he got up and his back hurts. A nurse asks as he walks past whether he couldn't have gone to the doctor the next day. After all, it is not about life and death. Other patients who are significantly worse off have to wait longer due to the rush. The doctors and nursing staff appear stressed.

Survey showed split results

Should patients have to pay an additional fee when they go to the hospital emergency room? For this purpose, a survey was started and the respondents were divided. 50 percent said they were in favor, while 48 percent were almost as many people. This was shown by a survey conducted by the KKH Kaufmännchen Krankenkasse, which the Forsa Institute carried out. 2 percent said they had no opinion or knew too little. 1,003 people between the ages of 18 and 70 were interviewed.

Treasurer Wolfgang Matz said: “Medical care shouldn't be a question of a wallet.” Instead of burdening patients with additional costs, Matz suggests improved control so that patients do not even get the idea of ​​going to the emergency department in a hospital because of minor illnesses.

Legislative changes are to be initiated

Emergency care should be converted outside normal practice hours. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) is initiating a change to the Basic Law. The urgent goal is to relieve the hospitals' emergency departments, said the minister.

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However, many patients do not know where and whom to contact if they fall ill outside of regular office hours. The 116117 is for the on-call service outside the opening hours of the practice and the 112 for emergencies, for example in the event of serious accidents, if a stroke or a heart attack is suspected. Patients are well advised to contact the KVN on-call service for acute but not life-threatening complaints outside the regular opening hours of the doctor's office. There they look after experienced doctors.

Interpret symptoms correctly

Is it "just" a thick cold, often with simple home remedies for a cold or cough? Or is the pneumonia hidden behind the symptoms, which must be treated immediately and possibly even requires a hospital stay? Here, a call to the emergency medical service can often offer help.

With some symptoms, however, you should never waste time and go to an emergency room immediately or call the emergency services on 112. These include sudden chest pain or acute stinging in the chest, symptoms of paralysis, numbness, loss of consciousness or fainting as well as suspected breakage.

The same applies if breathlessness, visual disturbances or bleeding suddenly occur. Because, for example, if it is a heart attack or a stroke, every minute is crucial. The earlier treatment begins here, the better the chances of survival or recovery. (sb)

Author and source information

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