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Health: Telephone sick leave should be possible permanently

Health: Telephone sick leave should be possible permanently

During the corona pandemic, patients were able to get a sick note from their doctor by telephone. Now the regulation is to be introduced permanently – certain conditions should apply.

In the future, patients should generally be able to receive a sick note from their doctor’s office by telephone if they have minor illnesses. The Joint Federal Committee of doctors, health insurance companies and clinics wants to decide on a change to the relevant incapacity for work guidelines on December 7th, as can be seen from the committee’s agenda.

Unlike what is usually the case with corresponding guidelines, the insured should be able to use the option immediately after the decision has been made, as a spokeswoman for the Federal Committee of the German Press Agency said. “A so-called retroactive entry into force” is planned, i.e. from the day of the decision, she said. The Federal Ministry of Health still has to formally examine the decision. In the Federal Committee, doctors, health insurance companies and clinics decide on specific health care services.

Permanent rule

There had already been a special regulation for sick leave over the telephone that had been extended several times during the Corona pandemic. It expired in April. With the planned step, such a regulation would then be permanently anchored.

In the summer, the committee was commissioned by law by the coalition to establish appropriate regulations for telephone sick leave, as a spokesman for the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) explained.

No severe symptoms

The fundamental new regulation will apply to patients “who are known in the doctor’s office and who do not have severe symptoms,” said the committee spokeswoman. This is different from the Corona special regulation. Patients with serious diseases of the upper respiratory tract could use these. The telephone sick note is intended to relieve pressure on doctor’s offices and reduce the risk of infection in the waiting rooms.

Committee member Monika Lelgemann told the ARD capital studio that if the federal committee accepts the regulation, it will come into force immediately. “That means it will be possible from December 7th.”

Tense situation in the practices

Germany’s family doctors had criticized that the planned reintroduction of telephone sick leave was going too slowly. Originally, a decision in the Federal Committee was only planned for January.

The federal chairman of the General Practitioners’ Association, Markus Beier, had already warned that the new regulations were “urgently necessary” for this winter at the Editorial Network Germany (RND) because of the “currently extremely high demand on general practitioners’ practices”. The committee spokeswoman explained that the deadline set for January did not have to be exhausted due to quick deliberations.

Video consultation possible

“Beyond telephone sick leave, there is also video consultation to avoid going to the doctor’s office if you are sick and your illness allows such a video consultation,” as the spokeswoman further explained. Here, a sick note is possible for up to seven days for patients who are known to the practice – and up to three days for patients who are not known to the practice.

Follow-up sick notes can also be issued via video if the previous sick note was based on a personal examination.

Source: Stern

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