Federal Joint Committee (Germany)
The Federal Joint Committee (German: Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss) refers to a group of German public health agencies that were merged in 2004, under an independent chairman. It is authorized to make binding regulations growing out of health reform bills passed by lawmakers, along with routine decisions regarding healthcare in Germany.
Although the Committee is not a subordinate agency and is independent of the Ministry of Health, government officials are responsible for exercising legal supervision over the Committee's decisions and guidelines. As a supreme decision-making body, the Committee exerts a direct influence on the healthcare provisions for millions of people.
The Committee was formed with the merger of the following organizations
- Bundesausschuss der Ärzte und Krankenkassen (Federal committee of Physicians and Health Insurers)
- Bundesausschuss der Zahnärzte und Krankenkassen(Federal committee of Dentists and Health Insurers)
- Koordinierungsausschuss (Federal coordination committee)
- Ausschuss Krankenhaus (Hospital committee)
These organizations were created several decades ago to ensure a proper supervision of the professional relationship between doctors and health insurers. Their roots can be partially traced back to the Weimar Republic in the late-1910s and 1920s. In 2004, they were renamed and merged into the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA). Currently, they carry the following names:
- Kassenärztlichen und Kassenzahnärztlichen Bundesvereinigung (National Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and Dentists)
- Deutschen Krankenhausgesellschaft (German Hospital Federation)
- GKV-Spitzenverband (Central Federal Association of Health Insurance Funds)
As a supreme decision-making body, the Joint Committee exerts a direct influence on the healthcare provisions for millions of people.
In the early stages of the Committee 's decision-making process, assessment reports of diagnostic or therapeutic interventions are prepared by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care on behalf of the Committee. All resolutions and guidelines passed by the Federal Joint Committee are subsequently audited by the Ministry of Health.
The directives issued by the Committee are legally binding for publicly insured persons as well as for the providers and payers of health care. In total, healthcare provisions for 70 million people, excluding those who are privately insured, are determined by the Committee.
Following the German Acupuncture Trials from 2002 to 2006, the Committee decided to include acupuncture into the catalogue of services covered by statutory health insurance organizations for the treatment of low back pain and knee pain.
On June 17, 2010, the Committee removed the usage of glinides from general prescription guidelines for the reduction of human glucose levels. It justified its decision by referring to the conclusion of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care that proof of efficacy was lacking.
- E. REINHARDT, UWE. "A German Import That Could Help U.S. Health Reform". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2013. "Germany’s joint committee was established in 2004 and authorized to make binding regulations growing out of health reform bills passed by lawmakers, along with routine coverage decisions. The ministry of health reserves the right to review the regulations for final approval or modification. The joint committee has a permanent staff and an independent chairman."
- Fricke, Frank-Ulrich; Dauben, Hans Peter (June 2009). "Health Technology Assessment: A Perspective from Germany". Value in Health 12: S20–S27. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4733.2009.00555.x. "The G-BA is the supreme decision-making body of the so-called self-governing system in Germany. Physicians, dentists, hospitals, sickness funds, and patients are represented in the G-BA. The G-BA issues directives and, thus, determines the benefit package of the SHI covering about 70 million people. Finally, the G-BA is responsible for reimbursement decisions."
- Kälble, Bernhard Borgetto ; Karl (2007). Medizinsoziologie : sozialer Wandel, Krankheit, Gesundheit und das Gesundheitssystem (in German). Weinheim: Juventa-Verl. p. 184. ISBN 9783779914846.
- "The Federal Joint Committee: Who we are and what we do". Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
- Wieseler, B.; McGauran, N.; Kaiser, T. (12 October 2010). "Finding studies on reboxetine: a tale of hide and seek". BMJ. pp. c4942–c4942. doi:10.1136/bmj.c4942. "Produces health technology assessments on diagnostic or therapeutic interventions and health economic evaluations for the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA)—the statutory health insurance system’s main decision making body"
- Karin Hertzer (12.08.2009). "Akupunktur ist wirksam" (in German). Focus (German magazine). "Der Gemeinsame Bundesausschuss der Ärzte und Krankenkassen entschied dann im April 2006, die Akupunktur als Kassenleistung gegen Rücken- und Knieschmerzen anzuerkennen."
- Kreis, J; Busse, R (January 2012). "From evidence assessments to coverage decisions?: the case example of glinides in Germany.". Health policy (Amsterdam, Netherlands) 104 (1): 27–31. doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.11.006. PMID 22136812.
- Ed Silverma (2013-09-18). "Will German Regulators Dampen Gilead Hopes For Its Stribild AIDS Drug?". Forbes. Retrieved 20 November 2013.