Negotiating reform at an arm's length from the state: Disease Management Programmes and the introduction of clinical standards in Germany
Studies of German health policy often highlight institutional constraints to reform. However, based on a case study of the introduction of clinical standards as part of the Disease Management Programmes for chronic illnesses, this article suggests that negotiating reform at an arm's length from the state can also lead to governance change, although the strengthening of hierarchy is not as prominent as that in some of the countries studied in this special issue. As such, the case of Germany offers interesting insights into the politics of governance change that occur in the shadow, but largely without the direct involvement of the state, which is typical of a corporatist health-care state. In this respect, the analysis identifies three leverages for change. First, the change in medical governance explicitly builds on earlier reforms and gives the reform alliance a competitive edge. Second, the organisations of the joint self-administration, as a more or less open ally of the state, play an influential role throughout the reform process. Importantly and third, this is complemented by the state steering at a distance.
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