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Spahn plans free corona antigen tests for practices, clinics, homes and co

Berlin. Doctors, nurses and other employees in hospitals, medical practices and nursing homes should soon be able to receive free corona rapid tests once a week. This is provided by plans from the Federal Ministry of Health for an amendment to the Coronavirus Test Ordinance (TestV). In future, visitors to care facilities will also be able to receive rapid antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 free of charge.

The draft bill has been submitted to the “Ärzte Zeitung”. He still has to go to the departmental vote. The employees of Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) are planning the change to come into force on October 15. The Federal Ministry of Health is currently empowered according to Section 20i Paragraph 3 SGB V to issue the ordinance itself without the consent of the Federal Council. First, on Saturday, “SPIEGEL” reported on the plans in its online edition.

"Rapid tests are particularly suitable for visitors, employees, residents and patients of nursing homes and hospitals," said Spahn of "Bild am Sonntag" (BamS). “With this we can prevent old and sick fellow citizens from becoming infected. For them, the risk of serious consequences of an infection is greatest. "

Test once a week

In the new test ordinance, the previous right to PCR tests for asymptomatic people who have had contact with infected people or who could be part of a local cluster will be updated. On the other hand, the right to tests for Returners from risk areas. These tests met with criticism from experts.

On the other hand, regular tests on employees and people being cared for in the health care system and social institutions were required early on by associations and specialist societies. Spahn had already indicated in the summer to change the test strategy accordingly.

To this end, Spahn now wants to introduce regular entitlement to free antigen tests. Rapid antigen tests are already available from Roche and Abbott, among others. However, they lead to significantly more false-positive results than the much more specific PCR tests.

claim on weekly tests should employees and patients as well as cared for, cared for or accommodated in

  • Hospitals,
  • Facilities for outpatient surgery,
  • Preventive or rehabilitation facilities,
  • Dialysis facilities,
  • inpatient care facilities,
  • outpatient care services,
  • Medical and dental practices,
  • Practices of other medical professions as well as
  • outpatient integration assistance services.

Point of care testing only

The entitlement also applies to visitors. For tests of the visitors, the persons already cared for as well as the employees, i.e. practice and clinic employees as well as nursing staff, however, only "patient near" Rapid point-of-care tests which the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) lists on its website.

The facilities are to receive up to 50 rapid tests per month and “cared person” via the public health service (ÖGD).

According to the ordinance, the health authorities as well as medical practices and test centers of the KVen are allowed to carry out the tests. In the draft regulation, the laboratory antigen tests are rewarded with a flat rate of 15 euros per test. The compensation the PCR test is still 50.50 euros. The medical service in connection with the test, i.e. conversation and certificate, is also remunerated with 15 euros.

Fee for training the nursing staff

When doctors Serial tests for example in nursing homes or on employees there, they receive 17 euros per test, which, however, also covers material costs. For tests on their own employees, the facilities or practices are reimbursed for the material costs for the tests used by the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.

However, doctors can also train nursing staff in inpatient care facilities so that they can carry out the tests there themselves. For the training Doctors receive a flat rate of 70 euros per facility. In all cases, you will be billed directly with your own KV.

For the first time, the draft ordinance also provides for a regulation Financing of the KV test centers in front. According to the draft ordinance, all costs that are not covered by remuneration for the tests or through an EBM billing may be "collected by the respective operator for all operated test centers and billed to the respective statutory health insurance association.

The KVen receive these expenses and the costs for the test billing monthly from the Liquidity reserve of the health fund is compensated by the Federal Social Security Office (BAS). The Federal Ministry of Health estimates total costs “in the mid three-digit million range, depending on the development of the test process”.