• Germany edition
 
German care industry 'wide open to corruption'
Photo: DPA

German care industry 'wide open to corruption'

Published: 14 Aug 2013 08:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 Aug 2013 08:03 GMT+02:00

The corruption watchdog said the country's rapidly ageing population meant the care industry was growing very fast - and there was "too little transparency and opportunities for checking things for those concerned."

The system offers many possibilities to "economically exploit the dependence of people who need care," it added.

Barbara Stolterfoht, one of the authors of the Transparency International study into the system, said: "The large number of actors in the system and the statutory rules make it difficult to clear identify who is responsible for what. And this opens the door to fraud and corruption."

The study found cases where care service firms paid doctors to send patients to them - and where some of the most lucrative patients were then sold on to other care service companies, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Tuesday.

The magazine also spoke of cases where companies making care products such as orthopaedic shoes and Zimmer frames pay money to the operating companies of old people's homes to secure their orders for supplies.

Corruption also exists at a level even closer to the patient, Der Spiegel reported, with some insurers paying relevant staff at medical service firms for ranking their patients as needing as little as possible in order to keep costs down.

One major problem is that while some of the larger companies running old people's and care homes operate on a national level, the authorities in charge of checking their practices are organized on a regional, or sometimes state, level.

There is no national register of which firm has broken the rules how many times, making it impossible to expose systematic abuses of the system.

And experts from social support offices say they have only limited legal opportunities to act, and that every complaint of fraud is immediately countered with opposing legal measures such as a complaint of slander.

Transparency International called for a national register of abuses by care home operators and for social support offices to get more powers to punish those who break the rules.

Authorities should also test the economic reliability and quality offered by care service providers by regularly making surprise checks, Der Spiegel said.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany's estate agents plan strike action
Photo: DPA

Germany's estate agents plan strike action

First it was the pilots, then train drivers - now Germany's real estate agents are threatening to go on strike. But their call to arms has been met with sneers rather than sympathy. READ  

Finger slicer's insurance scam fails
Ralf-Werner arriving in court last week. Photo: DPA

Finger slicer's insurance scam fails

An insurance salesman who sawed off his own finger and thumb to claim insurance was given a suspended sentence by a court in northern Germany on Friday. READ  

PKK: banned in Germany, allies in Iraq
Kurdish demonstrators at a rally in Düsseldorf in October. Photo: DPA

PKK: banned in Germany, allies in Iraq

Germany finds itself in a complicated relationship with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). At home, police must investigate anyone who flies the flag, but in the Middle East they are the best hope of beating back the Islamic State. READ  

Quiz
Will our Halloween quiz give you a fright?
Walpurgis Night in the Harz. Photo: DPA

Will our Halloween quiz give you a fright?

Germany is home to a plethora of haunted castles and has a huge stock of gruesome stories. How well do you know the spooky side of the Germans? READ  

Retail sales show biggest drop for seven years
Photo: DPA

Retail sales show biggest drop for seven years

German shoppers cut back on their spending in September at the fastest rate for seven years, official data showed on Friday. READ  

Fall of the Wall - 25 years
'I'm leaving for the West, who's coming?'
Engels at the spot where he drove through the Wall and in hospital in 1963 after being shot. Photo: Nick Allen/Fotoarchiv Alex Waidmann Berlin

'I'm leaving for the West, who's coming?'

There are many of tales of ingenious and well-thought out escape plans from people desperate to flee from East to West Berlin. Wolfgang Engels’ wasn’t one of them. It was, however, one of the most daring. READ  

Police probe pupils who made Nazi salutes
Pupils used WhatsApp to share messages which are police are investigating. Photo: DPA

Police probe pupils who made Nazi salutes

Police are investigating pupils at a school in Saxony-Anhalt for incitement of the people and use of banned symbols after teenagers allegedly made the Hitler salute. READ  

Time running out for refugees in Berlin school
Representatives of the refugees at a press conference last week. Photo: DPA

Time running out for refugees in Berlin school

An ultimatum for the remaining refugees and their supporters to leave an occupied school in Berlin, which has been the scene of protests for months, will expire at midnight on Friday. READ  

EU promises support for Ukraine gas deal
Photo: DPA

EU promises support for Ukraine gas deal

The European Union will "fully play its role" to implement the gas deal signed by Ukraine and Russia on Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande said in a joint statement. READ  

Body scanners to come to more airports
Photo: DPA

Body scanners to come to more airports

Passengers at German airports can expect a controversial full body scan in the future. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Want to study in Germany? These are the subjects to choose
Photo: DPA
Society
Germans are wide of the mark on immigration
Photo: DPA
Society
Halloween: Where are the spookiest spots?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Who wants to work in Germany? A third of the world
Photo: DPA
Society
'We can't allow a proxy war on German streets'
Sponsored Article
International School on the Rhine: a legacy
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: How well do you know Germany?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,530
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd