Update 25 June 2020

Here in the Netherlands we now have (almost) tropical weather. I hope that you are also able to enjoy summer weather and all its associated pleasures and not be too troubled by less nice aspects such as bugs. It seems that summer also entails less news. In this update we cover:

  • Bergman opens new clinic and seems to be back in business. When will the sales process be restarted?
  • Health minister moves financing from home care to long-term care. Is this contrary to government strategy and policy?

Bergman opens new clinic focused on orthopedic care

Last week Bergman Clinics announced that its new focus clinic for orthopedic care is open and operating at capacity. The planned opening was in March but was delayed due to the corona-crisis. The new clinic has 40 beds, two outpatient rooms, four operating theaters and the most modern MRI and X-ray equipment. The clinic can treat 350-400 patients per week and is a substantial addition to Bergman’s Dutch capacity.

In the press release Bergman highlights that they are one of the leading European operators of independent clinics with more than 50 clinics in the Netherlands and 50 clinics in Scandinavia. The press release also highlights that Bergman has contracts with all the Dutch insurance companies and has recently signed multi-year contracts with one of the largest insurance companies (Zilveren Kruis).

A process where a major share of Bergman was to be sold to a new owner was well under way before the corona-crisis. Bergman seems to be doing well and it will be interesting to see when the sales process is restarted.

Financing moved from homecare to long-term care

The Minister of Healthcare has recently announced that €340 million of financing will be structurally moved from nursing care provided at home (financed via the healthcare insurance companies) to long-term care (financed by the central government). The main reason given is that the overall spend on home nursing care has for the last few years been structurally and substantially lower than annual budgets. The ongoing undershoot compared to the budgets has mainly been achieved by efficient purchasing by the healthcare insurance companies by lowering rates and limiting contracts to services not covered by other financing forms.

Providers of home nursing services are not happy neither with the size of the financing move nor the timing of the change in the middle of corona-related changes to the healthcare sector, but have been assured that planned increases in financing to cover higher demand, higher costs and required investments will not be affected.

The move of financing seems to be contrary to the government’s stated goals of making / allowing people with care needs to stay at home for as long as possible. However, it reflects the need to finance to finance the very strong growth  in demand for nursing home care.