• Germany's news in English

German care industry 'wide open to corruption'

The Local · 14 Aug 2013, 08:03

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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
I’m ashamed of Germany’s refugee failure: Green leader
Cem Özdemir. Photo: DPA

The head of the Green Party has responded angrily to Angela Merkel’s speech on refugees on Friday, saying he feels “ashamed at Germany’s failure".

German satirists mock Erdogan (and his penis)
Photo: DPA

Tempting fate?

Huge pro-Erdogan rally puts strain on Turkish community
Erdogan supporters at a rally in 2014. Photo: DPA

Tens of thousands of supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to rally in Cologne on Sunday, as tensions over Turkey's failed coup have put German authorities on edge.

How the Berlin startup scene is wasting its potential
Photo: DPA

"The truth is, there really isn't a truly successful international Berlin startup."

Five years' jail for German darknet weapons dealer
Photo: DPA

He had sold weapons to known Isis-sympathizers and far-right extremists.

Prickly Bavarian calls out cops on hedgehogs' noisy sex
Photo: DPA

Caught in the act.

International or German state school - which one's best?
Photo: DPA

Deciding between sending your child to a German state school or a private international school isn't easy. Max Bringmann has experienced both.

13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make

Sure-fire ways to get off on the wrong foot in the German language.

Captain Schweinsteiger retires from international football
Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

He has won a World Cup with Die Mannschaft and captained them at Euro 2016. On Friday Bastian Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from the national team.

Woman accused of false rape allegation at Cologne NYE
Cologne on New Year's Eve. Photo: DPA

According to latest reports, the woman was not even in Cologne on New Year's Eve.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
IN PICTURES: How Munich responded to shooting spree
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Five things to know about guns in Germany
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd