Update 26 February 2019

Welcome to the latest update on what is happening in the Dutch commercial healthcare sector. In this update we cover:

  • Activities Joost Zorgt acquired by Actief Zorg. Will the consolidation of the homecare sector continue?
  • Growing discussions on the allocation of extra money for nursing homes. Will the government make the rules more flexible?
  • In our snapshot we give an overview of Actief Zorg, a growing provider of homecare services.

Joost Zorgt is acquired by Actief Zorg

Joost Zorgt is a Dutch homecare company started by Joost Nauta in 2006. Joost Nauta is severely handicapped and was so unhappy about the care that he was receiving that he decided to start his own homecare company. The company has had a strong growth and was active in all the major cities in the Netherlands. Joost Zorgt had more than 300 employees. Joost Zorgt declared bankruptcy earlier this month due to a business conflict with an ex business partner and one of the large healthcare insurance companies. There was high interest in acquiring Joost Zorgt, and it has now been taken over by Actief Zorg. Actief Zorg is a regional homecare company based in the southern part of the Netherlands (see snapshot for more details).

Homecare is an interesting sector of the overall Dutch healthcare market. It is expected to grow strongly in the next few years as the elderly population grows and stays longer at home before moving to a nursing home. The sector is still dominated by the large, traditional regional-based non-profit organizations, but an increasing number of commercial organizations are entering the market. It is a market with economies of scale (marketing, hiring and developing employees, and cost efficiencies) and we are likely to see more consolidation.

Orpea has already acquired a Dutch homecare provider (see update 22 January 2019). The number of potential commercial nursing home chains that can be acquired in the Netherlands is limited. Can this be an interesting road into the Dutch market for international companies interested in the Dutch elderly care market?

Growing discussion on allocation of extra €2.1 billion for nursing homes

Last year (see update 24 April 2018) the Dutch government announced that it would allocate an extra €2.1 billion to the nursing home sector. A key aspect of the new financing was that it would be provided to organizations based on specific plans for improving quality and that 85% of the funds allocated must go to hiring new staff.

As mentioned in the update of 20 December 2018 many organizations found these demands difficult to meet and relatively few organizations have submitted plans. According to the latest updates, only 60% of the €2.1 billion will in fact be used in 2019. Based on this, two key organizations have asked the government to reconsider how the extra money is allocated.

Actiz (the Dutch trade organization for companies providing long-term care) has suggested that the extra money should be added to the standard tariffs. ZN (the trade association for the healthcare insurance companies) does not agree with Actiz but want to see a more flexible allocation method that will allow nursing home operators to improve quality by other means than only increasing staffing.

Given the extreme challenges in finding new employees for nursing homes, it will be interesting to see how long it takes before the government changes the allocation keys and improves the financing of better nursing home care.

Snapshot of a Dutch private healthcare operator: Actief Zorg

Actief Zorg was started in 2004 and is based in the southern part of the Netherlands. The group consists of two companies. Actief Zorg offers medical homecare paid by healthcare insurance, and Actief Huiszorg offers homecare paid by the municipalities. Actief Zorg is actively growing through acquisitions. Last December it acquired the homecare activities of another regional operator (ZuidZorg), making Actief Zorg the largest homecare provider in its region. With the acquisition of the employees and clients of Joost Zorgt it is actively expanding into the rest of the Dutch market.