• 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
Hostage hope and hostage horror
Johannes Hentschel, Sabine and their son died in Yemen. Michael Scott Moore (r) was released on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Hostage hope and hostage horror

American-German journalist Michael Scott Moore was released on Tuesday from more than two-and-a-half years in captivity in Somalia. His release came the day a German family was confirmed dead, five years after being captured in Yemen. READ  

Iraq denies entry to German military trainers
The seven trainers boarded their plane in Germany on Friday. Photo: DPA

Iraq denies entry to German military trainers

UPDATE: Seven German military trainers, who flew to Iraq on Friday to train Kurdish fighters battling Islamic extremists Isis, have been denied permission to enter the country. READ  

Germany's eurosceptics supported by one in 10
AfD leader Bernd Lucke celebrates with supporters during the Brandenburg state election. Photo: DPA

Germany's eurosceptics supported by one in 10

Eurosceptic party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is supported by 10 percent of voters in Germany, a poll on Tuesday showed. It is the first time the fast-rising anti-euro party has polled nationwide in double digits. READ  

Analysis
Why Germany fears US digital disruptors
Angela Merkel with her official Blackberry phone

Why Germany fears US digital disruptors

Every week brings a new headline pitting German politicians, businesses or unions against a US digital company. What is the country's problem with US tech businesses? READ  

Quiz
Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: DPA

Can you pass the German citizenship test?

Since 2008 anyone applying for German citizenship has had to take a test on their new country's history, politics and values. Do you know enough about Germany to pass it? READ  

Rent caps are coming in 2015
Photo: DPA

Rent caps are coming in 2015

A move to cap rent rises in German cities has been agreed by coalition parties, Germany's justice minister announced on Tuesday morning. READ  

Boy, 6, among Berlin train attack victims
Photo: DPA

Boy, 6, among Berlin train attack victims

Two vicious acts of violence on Berlin trains over the weekend have shocked passengers, with the youngest attack victim aged just six. READ  

Gerst and crew get 3D printer and some mice
Gerst is waiting the arrival of the SpaceX Dragon which launched on Sunday. Photo: NASA TV/DPA

Gerst and crew get 3D printer and some mice

UPDATE: Alexander Gerst, Germany's man aboard the International Space Station (ISS), captured SpaceX's unmanned Dragon craft with a cargo of supplies on Tuesday. READ  

Father, 75, tries to dynamite son
Police searching the area after the TNT discovery in Nußdorf. Photo: DPA

Father, 75, tries to dynamite son

A Bavarian pensioner is being investigated on suspicion of attempted murder after planting 3.5kg of TNT in his son's garden, next door to his own home, police said on Monday. READ  

JobTalk Germany
How to become an au pair in Germany
Photo: DPA

How to become an au pair in Germany

It’s not quite as romantic as the Nanny Diaries, nor is it as magical as Mary Poppins. But being an au pair in Germany can be fun, as Emma Anderson finds out. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Munich
Fights and a skinny dip kick off Oktoberfest
Photo: DPA
Sport
German Fifa exec: 'Qatar won't host World Cup'
DPA
Gallery
The best photos from Oktoberfest's opening weekend
Photo: DPA
Munich
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's food
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Photo: DPA
Education
German universities tumble in global rankings
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,329
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd