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Social Court Düsseldorf rejects approval for branch practice
Düsseldorf (jur). The use of donkeys, rabbits or cats as part of animal-assisted psychotherapy does not mean a qualitative improvement in the care situation for young patients. This was decided by the Düsseldorf Social Court in a judgment announced on Monday, May 15, 2017 (file number: S 2 KA 328/15). It thus refused to allow a child and adolescent psychotherapist to get approval for a branch practice.
The therapist had a contract psychotherapy seat in Viersen. However, she also wanted to open a branch office about ten kilometers away. “Animal-based interventions” should be carried out there. In order to better reach mentally ill children and adolescents with psychotherapy, animals such as donkeys, rabbits and cats should be integrated into the therapy.
However, the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians refused approval for the branch practice. There is no further need for care for a new practice in the Viersen area.
The psychotherapist said that it shouldn't matter. Because here the animal-assisted intervention improves the quality of care for the insured.
But the social court saw this differently. Dealing with animals can actually facilitate access to children and adolescents. But there are also other comparable therapies that work with symbolic and playful therapy elements that appeal to the senses of the children. Because of the animals alone, there is therefore no improved quality of care, especially since every patient and every therapy situation is very individual.
It should not be assumed that a certain playful or symbolic access opening as part of the examination and treatment method is qualitatively better than another, according to the Social Court in its now final judgment of January 18, 2017. fle / mwo