[Outpatient Rheumatologic Treatment in Germany]

Z Rheumatol. 2014 Mar;73(2):123-34. doi: 10.1007/s00393-013-1260-4.
[Article in German]

Abstract

Outpatient rheumatologic treatment in Germany is managed by rheumatologists in private practice (n = 557), by authorized rheumatism outpatient centers (n = 116), by rheumatism centers according to §116b (n = 43) and by university outpatient departments. A total number of 975 rheumatologists were registered by the end of 2012 of whom approximately 830 were active in outpatient care. With this number of rheumatologists Germany is in the middle range in comparison to eight industrial nations including the USA. This number is not sufficient to provide adequate medical care and the consequences are too long waiting times for an appointment with a rheumatologist. Statistical data of the Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung (KBV, National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians) showed 688,000 general insurance patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). As some 68.9 % of the population are in this insurance scheme there are some 770,000 RA patients in Germany (almost 1 % of the population). One way to improve rheumatology care in spite of the lack of rheumatologists could be special agreements with the general health insurance providers to improve cooperation and division of responsibilities between rheumatologists and general practitioners, to implement patient education, tighter control and treat to target in rheumatology care. Another way could be a new treatment level called "ambulant specialist care", with no budget for medical care and no budget for the number of patients treated and therefore the chance for rheumatologists to treat more patients and have a better income. To achieve that more young doctors receive approval as a specialist in rheumatology, more chairs of rheumatology at universities and a nationwide stipendium for training assistants are needed.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / epidemiology
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Registries*
  • Rheumatology / statistics & numerical data*

Substances

  • Antirheumatic Agents