Since April 1, 2017, outpatient psychotherapeutic care in Germany has been subject to a new regulation. The reform, however, does not change the fact that there are far too few psychotherapeutic practices in rural areas.
The reform is designed to improve access to therapeutic care for patients in need of treatment. Among other things, legislators have mandated the establishment of service points, which should reduce patients’ wait times in receiving an appointment for an intake interview. This includes a revision of needs planning, which, however, has yet to be undertaken. Without a modification of psychotherapeutic needs planning, the reform will remain hindered by the fact that it does not address the unbalanced distribution of psychotherapist practices.
Rural areas in particular remain underserved by psychotherapeutic services, while urban areas show a high density of psychotherapeutic practices. A study commissioned jointly by the German Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists and the Bertelsmann Stiftung shows how a more equitable distribution of psychotherapist practices might be achieved. This issue of SPOTLIGHT HEALTHCARE identifies the relevant factors influencing this situation and provides recommendations for advancing needs planning.