Information on the new law GKV-IPReG
Guest contribution by Christiana Hennemann, business director of rehaKIND support association
The GKV-IPReG is a law that is intended to strengthen intensive care and rehabilitation. Applicable to statutory health insurance companies, the statute had already sparked much controversy in its formative phase. The first draft, known as RISG, was strongly criticized by relevant associations and affected individuals. It sparked such vociferous protests in front of the Bundestag that the Federal Ministry of Health changed the statute’s name and contents several times before the law ultimately took effect under the name IPReG at the end of 2020. Health Minister Spahn promised: “People who need intensive care should receive it at whatever location is best for them. Mandatory quality specifications for intensive care at private homes, in hospitals and in institutional residential facilities are intended to ensure that care is strengthened, especially for patients who are often no longer able to speak for themselves.” But affected individuals and their relatives view the situation quite differently. They are acutely concerned that self-determination will be massively curtailed. The decision as to where long-term care will be given now lies with the health insurers and the Medical Service of the Health Funds. The IPReG does not reflect the system of out-of-hospital intensive care, which was established many years ago and is supported by qualified homecare providers and nursing services to enable optimal participation and self-determined living at home. Recipients and givers of intensive care are wary of a tendency toward long-term hospitalization of patients under the pretext that nursing care is better provided in institutional facilities than in family environments.
The blogger and doctoral candidate in mathematics Tim Melkert views the issue quite pragmatically: “Through my work in the thinktank, I hope to have explained at least once to the members of the Federal Joint Committee (GBA) what degree of autonomy and self-determination some individuals with continuous ventilation like myself already enjoy today and how drastically our lives would be externally controlled and restricted if we were strictly subjected to the implementation guidelines specified by the GKV-IPReG.”
The journalist, care expert and activist Laura Mench likewise has her own opinion about IPREG: “As a person with a progressive disease whose perspective for the future involves invasive ventilation, I am personally affected and deeply concerned about the situation surrounding the GKV-IPReG. I am participating in the thinktank because only by working together can we influence events and contribute toward shaping the development of guidelines for implementation.”