Patient Rights Act passes the Federal Council

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Legislators are significantly strengthening patient rights

The Patient Rights Act, which passed the Federal Council today, is intended to significantly increase the transparency of medical treatments and to strengthen the position of patients. "The Patient Rights Act bundles the rights of patients for the first time and develops them further in essential points," according to the latest press release from the Federal Ministry of Health.

According to the ministry, the law on improving the rights of patients passed "the Federal Council today and will therefore come into force as planned on the day after its promulgation in the Federal Law Gazette." When the law comes into force, the position of patients will improve significantly. "For the first time, patient and doctor meet at eye level," emphasized Federal Minister of Justice Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.

Documentation duty of doctors The patient rights law anchors the treatment contract as a new type of contract, which regulates the relationship between doctor and patient, in the civil code. The law stipulates that patients will be informed comprehensively and comprehensibly by the treating doctor in advance of the treatment. "Our mission statement is the responsible patient, who is informed and informed and can thus face the doctor at eye level," said Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr. "In order to strengthen an open error prevention culture, we support cross-facility error reporting systems in hospitals. Our common goal is to provide the best possible medical care for patients, ”continues Bahr. An essential point in the new law is the now mandatory documentation of doctors. In the future, physicians will have to record all the important circumstances relating to the treatment in the patient file. In the case of liability in the event of possible treatment errors, this is crucial for a "balanced distribution of the burden of proof", according to the ministry.

Patients have a right to information The Federal Minister of Health Daniel Bahr rated the law as “a good foundation: the rights of patients are being strengthened. The special relationship of trust between patient and doctor is thus further expanded. ”The patient representative of the Federal Government, Wolfgang Zöller, comes to a similar assessment, and he particularly emphasized the inclusion of the treatment contract in the Civil Code. So far, patients and doctors often did not even know "which legal norm applies and where it can be found." Now "patients and doctors could understand their rights and obligations in an understandable and related manner." required examinations, diagnoses and intended therapies, which also include the costs that may arise. Basically, all patients should be fully informed about an upcoming concrete treatment measure and the resulting risks, whereby written information is not sufficient, but "a personal interview must be held in good time beforehand", reports the Federal Ministry of Health.

Accelerating approval procedures at health insurance companies According to the Federal Minister of Health, another advantage of the new patient rights law is "the acceleration of approval procedures by health insurance companies." According to the law, health insurance companies will have to "move quickly - in any case within three or, if necessary, within five weeks - decide “whether the application for benefits from an insured person will be granted, Bahr explained. "If the health insurance company has not given an answer within this period, the benefit is deemed to have been approved," continued Bahr. In addition, the health insurance companies would be obliged to support their insured persons in the enforcement of claims for damages due to treatment errors, which could also include the provision of evidence or the preparation of medical reports. The treatment contract regulates not only the relationship between doctors and patients, but also between patients and therapists from other health care professions, such as alternative practitioners, midwives, psychotherapists or physiotherapists, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. (fp)

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