Practice without borders helps uninsured patients in Neumünster

Neumunster.The woman with the headscarf endures the blood pressure measurement without saying a word. Her adult son speaks; she doesn’t speak a word of german. Her blood pressure shows better values ​​than at the first visit, mother and son leave the consultation at the practice without borders in Neumünster satisfied.

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Read more after the announcement

In the corridor, the man tells why they came here, to practice without borders. His mother had come to visit him from Montenegro on a three-month visa. Then came Corona, there were no return flights; He now has no one in Montenegro and lives with his son in Germany: “he can’t go back.” The woman does not have a residence and, therefore, she does not have health insurance. “She is a bit of a criminal,” the man knows, but he sees no other solution: “I don’t understand why there is no family reunification in Germany.”

Here, in the rooms of the Diakonie, care is given to people who do not have health insurance. An unclear residency status may be a reason for this. “We guarantee absolute confidentiality”, emphasizes Johannes Kandzora, one of the initiators of the practice and today a doctor on call.

Corona vaccines even without ID

According to the Federal Statistical Office, around 61,000 people in Germany did not have health insurance in 2019. Two-thirds of them are men, the self-employed and the unemployed are affected more often than average. Whatever the history of the patients, they are treated here on Wednesdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm without insurance. Corona vaccines are also available here, without identification.

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Read more after the announcement

Insolvency or business difficulties sometimes make private health insurance contributions unaffordable; especially as they increase with age. If you have previous illnesses, you pay a risk surcharge. The road back to compulsory health insurance is difficult.

Abandoned from the “social network” due to the move

But sometimes the stories of the patients are much more banal, says social counselor Imke Lüders: A family was sitting with her who, after moving, did not pick up their mail at the old address. The various forms of aid gradually expired and no follow-up applications were submitted. “Then things happen that let you leave the social network.” After all, they sat in the borderless practice without health insurance coverage.

“Sometimes no one comes, sometimes one or two,” says Dr. Kandzora, describing the number of patients. That seems manageable, but the doctor has no doubts about the need for the practice without borders: “You don’t need fire all the time for firefighters either.”

Kandzora: “The practice is what defines my medical profession.”

For Johannes Kandzora, working in this practice is “what defines my medical profession”: helping people. In most cases, these are problems that are normally treated by a general practitioner. But there have also been several pregnant women here: “A woman with an immigration background comes to the country, she has to give birth to her child somewhere.” There are also gynecologists in the medical team. If possible, such patients are called during their office hours.

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Read more after the announcement

But there are also solutions for other problems, such as a necessary lab test: “If an MRI is necessary, I would handle it with our radiology practice,” says Kandzora. His optimism is based on his network: The pediatrician is the second president of the network of medical practices in Neumünster, in which 106 doctors from the city and its surroundings have joined. Kandzora explains that there are good contacts with the health department and the hospital through this organization.

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Around 20 doctors share the service in the practice without borders on a voluntary basis. As a specialist, Andrea Holling accompanies practice without borders, in her main job as general director of the network of practices. Calls to the office reach your work cell phone via call forwarding.

Social counselor Imke Lüders tries to help patients get health insurance.

Social counselor Imke Lüders tries to help patients get health insurance.

Read more after the announcement

Read more after the announcement

The social counselor Imke Lüders works at Diakonie Altholstein and complements the practice without borders. She advises patients “with the aim of getting people to sign up for compulsory health insurance.” She calls a lot to get directions, picks up applications and prints them, and sometimes helps fill them out. And she sometimes finds that the people in her office are grateful for a normal conversation at eye level. Imke Lüders doesn’t know how high her success rate is. Patients usually come only once or twice: “You don’t see what’s going to happen.”

Practice Without Borders is located in the halls of Diakonie Altholstein in Neumünster, Am Alten Kirchhof 2. The facility has its own website on the Internet: www.praxis-ohne-grenzen-nms.de

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