UPD: Advice now faster and easier
Advising consumers and patients on health issues could be quicker and easier in the future. According to the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds, Independent Patient Counseling Germany (UPD) will gradually be expanded in new sponsorship from the beginning of next year can be reached. There, those seeking advice can find out about common treatment methods for certain diseases.
The advice also includes medical bills and health insurance benefits as well as other social issues. If concerns are not clarified by telephone, there is also the option of being personally advised at 30 locations in Germany, for example in adult education centers or community offices. The work is secured by a comprehensive quality management. The overriding principle of the 120 consultants and doctors is that the advice is neutral and independent, according to the GKV umbrella association.
New UPD awarded to Sanvartis
Gernot Kiefer, board member of the GKV umbrella association, emphasized that different conceptual offers were received in the process of re-awarding the UPD. This led to a real competition for the best solutions. "We are convinced that with the offer from Sanvartis GmbH we have selected the best and most innovative offer in the interest of patients and consumers." It is planned to significantly expand the consultation online, by telephone or personally on site and to make it more flexible. Especially in structurally weak, rural areas, there should be on-site advice for those seeking advice in advice vehicles. With limited mobility, there should also be counseling offered by the UPD at home, explained Kiefer.
UPD advice improved and modernized
State Secretary Karl-Josef Laumann, patient representative of the Federal Government (CDU), said: “In the future, an auditor will monitor compliance with quality standards and independence. In addition, the Advisory Board has the right to issue instructions to the new UPD. And with the exception of a few specialists, the consultants will be employed by the newly founded UPD company for the first time and will work exclusively for them. Influences by third parties on the advice should therefore be excluded. The advice will continue to be improved and modernized. There are also a number of improvements - towards more quality, regionality and proximity to the citizen. I am certain that patient counseling in Germany is making a quantum leap. Citizens will benefit from this, ”added Laumann. Russian and Turkish speaking advice seekers will therefore be provided with the entire health, medical or social law knowledge of the consultants via interpreters, for example, in the absence of language skills.
Increase the number of patient contacts
Thorben Krumwiede, designated managing director of the UPD, summarized: "The aim is to almost triple the number of consultations to more than 220,000 annual contacts." Above all, the aim is to strengthen the quality of advice. He added that doctors, lawyers, medical assistants and other specialists from more than 15 different specialist areas can be contacted by phone or in person via video telephony. Krumwiede explained in the press release of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds: "We ensure the quality and timeliness of all information used in the consultation by means of professional information sources and databases and deliver all of the expert knowledge to every consultation location. Independent, neutral and competent advice is and remains the heart of independent patient advice. ”State Secretary Laumann added that both the GKV umbrella association and the patient representative are convinced that the“ UPD brand ”must be known as an independent, independent and quality-oriented offer. The UPD, which is financed by the contributors to the statutory health insurance, must be more easily accessible and known to the general public.
Controversial new award of the UPD
The awarding of patient advice to Sanvartis GmbH had already resulted in two members of the UPD Advisory Board (Professors Marie-Luise Dierks (MHH) and Rolf Rosenbrock, Chairman of the Joint Association) ending their work. The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds officially awarded Sanvartis the contract on Friday, September 18. The patient representative Karl-Josef Laumann agreed to the choice. According to the medical newspaper, members of the advisory board had expressed serious concerns about the procedure itself and Sanvartis during the award procedure. Laumann said that he noted the resignation of the advisory board members, but he did not want to comment further. The decision against the previous UPD carriers was not an easy one for him, said Laumann and thus met with opposition from the left and the Greens. The reassignment of the UPD funding was necessary because the legal requirements only allow a temporary allocation of these funds and the current funding phase expires at the end of this year. The legislator had increased the UPD funding from 5.2 to 9 million euros annually and extended the term from five to seven years. Above all, this should provide better telephone accessibility. The Duisburg-based company Sanvartis will establish an independent, non-profit GmbH. This is to continue to promote the offer under the previous brand name "Independent Patient Advice Germany" (UPD). The decision to award Sanvartis was made by mutual agreement by the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds. (as)