Federal government defends specialization in care for…

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Berlin – According to the federal government, specialization in facilities makes sense when it comes to caring for premature babies weighing less than 1,250 grams. In care facilities with more experience, the likelihood of death and the risk of children becoming disabled are significantly reduced, it says. Government response in response to a small request from the group Die Linke.

The Federal Government emphasizes that the guidelines of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) regulates binding minimum requirements for ensuring the quality of care provided to premature and full-term babies (QFR-RL).

In addition, the G-BA established a minimum value for the care of premature and full-term babies with a hospitalization weight of less than 1,250 grams and decided in 2020 to increase this minimum value to 25 care services per year per hospital location starting in 2024.

However, the planning authorities of the federal states have the right to make exceptions to the minimum quantities at the request of the hospital in order to guarantee the supply throughout the country. This exception regulation takes due account of the different supply situations in the countries, the response continues.

However, it is also stressed that in the future not all perinatal centres will probably be able to meet the quality requirements of the QFR-RL and/or the minimum quantity regulation. In the long term, this could result in a greater concentration of care for premature babies in Germany – but this should be supported taking into account the high quality requirements and the associated resource consumption.

However, no significant drop in treatment cases is expected for level 1 centers if they are no longer able to treat newborns weighing less than 1,250 grams due to non-compliance with the minimum quantity.

As explained in the answer, the proportion of newborns weighing less than 1,250 grams is less than one percent of all newborns. The number of newborns weighing more than 1,250 grams who still require care is therefore more than 100 times higher than the number of newborns weighing less than 1,250 grams.

On the other hand, the care of very small premature babies in Germany must of course continue to be guaranteed on a general basis. From the Federal Government’s point of view, it must be taken into account that premature births can largely be “planned” and only occur as an emergency in rare cases.

As a result, this means that a longer journey to a Level 1 centre may be accepted or “should be accepted in the interests of high quality care”.

As part of the evaluation of the minimum quantity decision decided by the G-BA in March 2023, the Institute for Quality Assurance and Transparency in the Health System (IQTIG) were tasked in particular with presenting the benefits and disadvantages achieved with the minimum quantity and with scientifically examining whether setting this minimum quantity can confirm an improvement in the quality of treatment results. The first results integrated in an interim report should be available in early 2025. © aha/aerzteblatt.de

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