BMVZ – the Association of German Medical Care Centres – is a non-profit association of medical facilities and interested enterprises, who have joined forces with the aim of promoting cooperation in outpatient healthcare. At the same time, we see ourselves as a mouthpiece for those cooperative structures and institutions who have committed themselves to the improvement of outpatient care. We offer guidance to doctors and enterprises that are considering forming cooperative structures, and enable them to contact stakeholders with practical experience. We believe that our vision of establishing a blanket provision of cross-sector, interdisciplinary care facilities can only be achieved through wide-ranging support for integrative, cooperative healthcare facilities where patients receive care beyond that offered by individual surgeries. Our office in Berlin will be happy to help you, and is your point of contact for all questions related to cooperative healthcare provision in general, and also for specialised or specific matters that concern legal and organisational aspects of running a medical care centre.
What we do.
There have been medical care centres (MVZs) in Germany since 2004. Their origins are closely linked to the Brandenburg Health Centres, which were created out of the polyclinics of the former German Democratic Republic in 1990–91. Now there are more than 4,000 MVZs, distributed across the entire federal territory on a relative basis according to the distribution of the population. Although this means that MVZs now occupy a secure place in the outpatient care landscape, in recent years particularly a certain amount of criticism of the new, non-medical funding providers has established itself. However, blanket judgements are unhelpful here. Instead of attempting to keep capital out of healthcare by all means, questions of control and assurance of quality for the patients, for all practices and doctors across all structures, should occupy centre stage. In the opinion of the BMVZ, the best outlook for the future would be if a diversity of models and structures were to co-exist alongside one another, thus giving rise to a pluralistic assortment of providers and a constructive competitive struggle for modern medical practice structures and efficient treatment procedures.
Knowledge attractively packaged:
As a non-profit organisation, our goals include providing information and creating networks. And in this field, we also go beyond national boundaries. This is because contact with other countries and their healthcare systems gives both parties opportunities to exchange ideas, find inspiration and critically interrogate supposedly self-evident facts. Whether these are neighbours such as France or Sweden or distant countries such as South Korea and the US, dialogue about the issues facing healthcare there and insight into different systems and points of view have repeatedly proven to be beneficial for the BMVZ’s own work as well.
Vibrant information exchange is also so fruitful for us because on each occasion it concerns issues with the most diverse kinds of content. The delegation from Austria had a lot of questions about the function of medical care centres (MVZs) in everyday healthcare and how to establish them. The state officials from South Korea wanted to learn about and understand how Germany handled the challenges of overcoming the legal problems of a previously divided country, and what lessons for health policy might be derived from this in relation to the Korean question. The Swedish delegation was interested in understanding where the fine distinctions between the German MVZs and their own system of municipal health centres were situated, and comparing the two. On their list of questions, the visitors from the US had the concrete problem of healthcare possibilities for unregistered refugees. By contrast, the delegates from Kazakhstan arrived with the desire to understand the German healthcare system as a whole, in order to find ideas for their planned reform of healthcare structures in the country. With the representatives of the French doctors’ associations, there was a wide-ranging dialogue concerning the common challenge both countries faced in having to address the shortage of doctors in rural areas.
Some of these contacts are still ongoing today, and are leading to ever-new shifts of perspective in individual points of view. For BMVZ, therefore, international exchange has been a valuable opportunity for further development and a stimulus for ideas about a cooperative outpatient care system, and continues to be.