A critical look back on 2016’s policy developments.
Largely unnoticed by the general public, two important federal laws were negotiated in Germany in the last quarter of 2016. Positions were clarified and new developments in the field of mental health were cast in legislative texts. Unnoticed, because two legislative proposals were made in two different worlds: prepared by two government departments, combatted and defended by different stakeholders. The connection of both laws does not become obvious immediately. The effects will have a fundamental impact on the operational framework of Pfalzklinikum.
The first law is the so-called Hospital Psychiatry Act, which was adopted as the Psychiatric Care and Remuneration Act (PsychVVG) in November after tough and difficult negotiations including executives of Pfalzklinikum. Financing is no longer a priority issue but the law shall give care impulses. It stresses the budget character being so important for an institution like Pfalzklinikum. The PsychVVG Act concerns child and adolescent psychiatry as well as the general psychiatry of Pfalzklinikum’s departments and the Federal Ministry of Health is playing a leading role in preparing it.
No Separate Worlds
The second law is the Federal Participation Act (BTHG) which is meant to enable persons with impairment to re-control and organize their participation in life. This law has an effect on Pfalzklinikum’s community-based services. The effects of both laws aim at people in different life situations: they concern the alleviation and the healing of diseases (PsychVVG) and, in addition, the development of possibilities (BTHG). The latter, for example, is about how it is possible to take part in the life of the community and of society despite one’s impairment and disability, or after a serious disease, without having to live in separate worlds. In spite of separate concepts and contents, the regulations intermingle on site and in case of the persons concerned. So the treatment at home as provided for in PsychVVG has, for example, an effect on the living and working situation (BTHG). Vice versa, looking for a job has an influence on the experience of crises. Different responsibilities and solution models as well as divergent targets and specifications of the involved institutions make it practically impossible to offer a solution from one single source.
Pfalzklinikum’s experts were able to utter many points of criticism regarding both laws, sometimes loudly, sometimes softly, but unfortunately not in the way it would have been useful. For the first time after the psychiatry survey it would have been possible to develop an overall concept for the shaping of offers in the field of mental health and to remove the historical separation of disease and participation in life. Pfalzklinikum’s primary goal concerning both laws is to prevent that the cheapest solutions are adopted without taking quality criteria into account and that the nursing care insurance will become the core of participation in life.
How Pfalzklinikum’s community-based services help people to participate in life despite their impairment and how awareness is created of their daily challenges is shown in two projects, introduced in the following videos: