It will be right to begin this brief review dedicated to the German healthcare system and treatment in Germany with the fundamental principle on which the system is built - the principle of solidarity. In fact, it means "one for all and all - for one."
In Germany, all residents are required to have health insurance. Regardless of social status and income, everyone pays about 15% of their earnings into so-called health insurance funds (Krankenkasse). These funds in turn would pay for medical inspection and treatment. The state pays for medical treatment in case of unemployment. Anyone who wants to get service beyond what is provided by the insurance has the right and opportunity to obtain it at his own expense. The principle of solidarity has been around for decades. The Germans developed a certain philosophy, according to which it is important that medical care is professional, fast and affordable for everyone. Exactly in the same way, this philosophy applies to patients from other countries.
To get an idea about the power of German medical system, one should look at its annual expenses of about 300 billion euros, which is comparable to the size of the budget of a country like Russia in recent years. Such amounts, of course, imply a high quality of care. To ensure such quality, there are more than 2.000 modern clinics and about 1500 modern rehabilitation centers in Germany. More than 30 University clinical centers are constantly conducting research in all areas of modern medicine. Hundreds of thousands of doctors working in clinics are in private medical offices (Praxis). Germany is a home to a number of companies developing and producing medical devices and medicaments.
The treatment in Germany usually takes place in hospitals. Hospitals can generally be divided into three main categories:
University clinical centers are not just clinics. Rather, they are research centers and teaching hospitals for future doctors. University hospitals conduct independent researches in all areas of modern medicine, and actively participate in international scientific work. Treatment in university medical centers is usually more expensive than in general hospitals, but in rare and complicated cases, it makes sense to pay the price.
District or city hospitals are general clinics that are often unified into one or the other network and provide a wide range of medical services at a very high level. In contrast to the university hospitals, they usually do not conduct researches and most of them do not teach students, but rather focus on the treatment of known diseases and have very strong dedicated departments with experienced stuff. Often, when it comes, for example, to the planned surgery for a well-known disease, it makes sense to choose a city clinic.
Private clinics are usually in possession of one or two doctors. Usually, they are mature specialists with many years of practical experience in one of the university medical centers. Often, such clinics do not have permanent establishment departments, or they have a day ward for a short stay. The clinics are usually located in the suburbs, in nature, to make the patient's stay as comfortable as possible.
Regardless of the clinic, all their work and pricing are strictly regulated by the quality systems and laws of the Federal Government of Germany, as well as of the Federal Land (Bundesland) in which the clinic is located. This is one of the main advantages of the German health care system. The transparency is because everyone has an access to the information about pricing and quality of the treatment.
Here is the simplified scheme of pricing in German clinics. There is a standard catalog of diagnostically related groups, so called DRG. This catalog defines a certain coefficient or several coefficients for each patient’s case. This coefficient is then multiplied by the basic cost of the treatment. The Government of the Federal Land determines the basic cost of treatment. Each clinic is obliged to issue the quality report that represents all the necessary information about its performance.
In conclusion, a few words about how things work inside the hospitals themselves.
First thing everyone notices in German clinics is cleanness everywhere. Utmost attention is being paid to sterility in the wards. Each room and corridor has hygiene and disinfection agent. Cleaning is carried out on schedule several times a day. The wards very often resemble rooms of a good hotel. Normally all the wards have two or three beds. Single bed ward is bookable at additional cost. All wards, or rather, each bed is provided with a telephone, TV and Internet. WC and shower are also provided. Meals are served several times a day in accordance with the prescribed diet and are delivered directly to the ward. The doctors rounds involving the head of the department are held daily in the morning. Once a week they are lead by the chief doctor of the clinic.