NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Privatizing German Health Care

April 20, 2000

There is a trend toward the privatization and closure of state owned hospitals in Germany, according to a recently published study by Arthur Andersen, a management consulting firm. Experts say this will lead to stronger competition between hospitals and a reduction in both the number of hospital beds and the average length of hospital stays.

According to the 27 German health system experts who gave their opinions for the "Hospital Study 2015,"

  • The number of German hospitals will fall by 25 percent over the next 15 years, from the current total of 2,258 to 1,700, with most of the remaining ones being owned either by private companies or by nonprofit organizations.
  • Just a few hundred hospitals are expected to be in the hands of the state.
  • The number of hospital beds will be reduced by up to 40 percent.
  • Patients will stay in hospital for three to five days on average, compared with 11 days now.

Private companies, partly sponsored by health insurance companies and other investors, are taking over hospitals and introducing modern management and marketing. Privately financed hospitals are in general open to all patients, not just the 10 percent of the German population with private health insurance.

Source: Annette Tuffs , "Germany Expects More Hospital Privatization," British Medical Journal, April 15, 2000.


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