The Senate wants to invest more in the Berlin hospitals than previously planned. This is the result of the budget that was presented on Monday. The deputies of the red-green-red coalition therefore pushed through higher sums than provided for in the draft of the state government. While 150 million euros had previously been announced for 2022, almost 170 million euros have now been decided. In the following year it should be 162 million euros.
Together with so-called credit authorizations, the clinics could spend a total of 570 million euros on buildings and technology over the two years. Berlin’s 70 planned hospitals have around 21,000 beds; this is how those state, private, non-profit or denominational clinics are described that are classified by the state as necessary for care and are therefore entitled to public funds for buildings and technology. The health insurance companies pay the costs for staff and medication.
In addition to the Charité, which is financed from other sources as a university clinic, the state-owned Vivantes hospitals were recently able to negotiate extra funds. In addition to the EUR 260 million that the Senate as a shareholder is granting to the Vivantes clinics, regardless of the investments mentioned to increase equity, a further EUR 93 million are to go to the national group in 2023. This emerges from a response from Finance State Secretary Barbro Dreher (Greens) to a request from CDU MP Christian Gräff, which is available to the Tagesspiegel in advance.
Accordingly, it is money “to compensate for operating losses caused by the pandemic” – Vivantes had taken care of many Covid 19 intensive care cases, which is why regular, lucrative operations were canceled for months. Whether the 93 million euros violated EU competition rules was checked “also with the involvement of external legal expertise”, writes the State Secretary.
CDU health expert Gräff said when asked on Monday that the Vivantes clinics distributed in Berlin were maximum providers and their influence on the industry was too great to ignore the extra help for competitive reasons. In addition, the 93 million euros with the Corona reference are questionable, since all hospitals have already received federal funds to compensate for losses caused by the pandemic. And in addition, most clinics would then have to receive such a state compensation, because the smaller, non-municipal hospitals would also have participated in the Covid 19 care.
Gräff concludes: “Since Vivantes even treats patients from Brandenburg, sometimes from other federal states, the EU Commission must ask itself whether this is a distortion of competition.”
The leader of the Greens parliamentary group, Silke Gebel, reacted quickly on Monday: The significant increase in investment for the non-profit, private and denominational hospitals shows that the Senate supports all clinics, i.e. it is committed to the legally stipulated variety of providers and is by no means violating competition regulations with the extra funds for Vivantes .
Vivantes is legally a limited liability company, so it does not operate like an authority but like a company. The state-owned group operates eight hospitals, as well as outpatient services and nursing homes, and is Germany’s largest chain of municipal clinics. Almost a third of all inpatients in Berlin are cared for in a Vivantes facility every year.
Last year, nurses and cleaning and kitchen workers went on strike in the Vivantes clinics. The strikers demanded more staff and higher wages. The factions of the SPD, the Greens and the Left are also saying unofficially that the 93 million euros should help Vivantes to fulfill the costly collective agreements.
In the future, Vivantes is to cooperate more closely with the state-owned Charité. On the Charité Virchow campus in Wedding, Senate leader Franziska Giffey (SPD) attended the topping-out ceremony of two institutes on Monday: In the planned laboratories in the “Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies”, to put it roughly, specialized cells will be multiplied, which will be used as “living medicines ’ can be used to treat previously incurable diseases – for example tumor cases. In the neighboring research center “The simulated human being”, organs are to be reproduced in order to be able to better simulate the mechanisms by which diseases develop. This should also help to further reduce animal testing in research. The two Charité centers are financed with state and federal funds totaling 68 million euros.