Cologne. Holders of public health insurance policies can in certain cases claim an independent second medical opinion. The German Institute for Quality and Cost-Effectiveness in Health Care (IQWiG) has recently named another 15 medical conditions which are entitled to a second opinion procedure with statutory health insurance coverage.
The relevant survey was commissioned by the German Joint Federal Committee (G-BA). The Committee determines which therapies or diagnostic procedures can be the issue of a second medical opinion covered by public health insurance.
Since 2018 tonsil and uterus removal surgeries have been among the interventions that entitle physicians and patients to seek a second expert opinion. In 2019, shoulder arthroscopy was added to this list, followed by total knee replacement in 2020 as well as spine surgery and amputations in connection with diabetic foot in 2021.
The current increase in the number of second-opinion issues included in the elective treatment plan was based on the dynamics of medical procedures frequency, German regional factors and international experience. Following the survey results, IQWiG named another 15 health situations when “a second opinion procedure could support decision-making”. They include:
Myringotomy (making an incision in the ear drum to drain out the fluid associated with middle ear inflammations)
Various types of nаsal surgery
Heart valve replacement
Defibrillator or artificial pacemaker implantation
Aortic aneurism interventions
Benign or cancerous prostate removal
Cardiac EP study and ablation
Percutaneous interventions on coronary vessels, i.e. catheter procedures to improve blood flow in narrowed heart arteries.
The IQWiG head Jürgen Windeler says the survey report presented by the Institute gives a solid ground for further decision making.