New regulations aim to provide care for people with mental illness…

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Berlin – In the bill presented today for the Health Care Strengthening Act (GSVG) of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG), there are some innovations that aim to improve care for the mentally ill and also guarantee the next generation of psychotherapists. However, there are no specific regulations for financing continuing training in psychotherapy.

The specific plan aims to improve access to care for “people who have difficult access to care due to their personal and social life circumstances”. A new authorization must be created for them.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) cited people with serious mental illnesses or drug addiction as examples. “Using special needs approvals, we want to empower psychotherapists to treat these particular people,” Lauterbach told the press today.

Furthermore, psychotherapists and psychotherapists who predominantly or exclusively serve children and adolescents will need to form their own needs planning group in the future. The aim is to take into account the special care needs of children and young people when accessing psychotherapeutic care. This regulation was already included in the previous version of the GVSG.

According to BMG, the additional outpatient agency options could result in additional statutory health insurance expenses amounting to low to mid-single digit millions per year from 2026 onwards.

Furthermore, the provision of psychotherapeutic services should be simplified. “It is stipulated that in the future it will be unnecessary to obtain a consultative report if the psychotherapeutic treatment is carried out based on a referral from a contracted doctor and, therefore, a somatic examination has already been carried out.”

Furthermore, the Federal Joint Committee The legislature decided to change the application process for short-term therapy from a previously two-phase process to a single-phase process.

Regulations for the financing of psychotherapeutic training, long awaited by the psychotherapist profession, are not yet included in the proposed law, on the contrary. The text says: “The legal requirements for the transfer of part of the remuneration that training clinics receive from health plan operators for services provided by training participants are obsolete and should, therefore, be eliminated.”

The term “continuing training outpatient clinics” is introduced by the legislator as a new legal definition and means “outpatient clinics in institutions approved by state law for the continuous training of psychotherapists or doctors in areas of psychotherapeutic specialty”.

According to the legislator, the position of advanced outpatient clinics is reinforced by the fact that “they have the opportunity to negotiate their remuneration with the health insurers themselves”. And further: “Existing remuneration regulations for psychotherapists in continuing training and continuing training outpatient clinics must be adjusted taking into account the respective continuing training regulations”.

The Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists reacted with “total incomprehension” (BPtK) on the legal provisions relating to continuing training in psychotherapy. “We observed that a regulation should be created that explicitly prevents adequate financing of continuing training”, explained the president of BPtK, Andrea Benecke.

Other changes, such as the introduction of a legal definition for continuing training outpatient clinics and the elimination of a remuneration regulation that does not apply to psychotherapists in continuing training, are “purely cosmetic”.

“The GVSG does not provide sufficient funding for continuing education positions in offices, outpatient clinics and continuing education clinics,” criticizes Benecke. “GVSG is committed to the goal of securing young psychotherapeutic talent. This can only be achieved if the GVSG is significantly improved in the parliamentary legislative process.”

According to Federal Minister of Health Lauterbach, the GVSG must be read before the summer holidays. © PB/aerzteblatt.de

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