Update 26 June 2018

In the last few weeks there has been a couple of announcements from the government that must be seen as very good news for international healthcare companies interested in the Dutch market. In this latest update on private healthcare in the Netherlands we cover:

  • Public statement from the Minister of Healthcare regarding the recent acquisition of Dagelijks Leven by Orpea. What does this mean for international operators interested in the Dutch market?
  • The Dutch Healthcare Authority announces changes to the financing of long-term care. Why is this good news for operators with experience in competitive markets?
  • In our snapshot we give an overview of Senior Service, a company helping the elderly live longer at home.

Statement by Healthcare Minister suggests open door for international companies interested in the Dutch healthcare sector

Recently a member of Parliament representing the Dutch Socialist party raised questions related to the acquisition of Dagelijks Leven by Orpea (see update of 24 April 2018). In a formal written answer Mr. Hugo de Jong, the Minister of Healthcare representing the CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) made a number of positive statements regarding investments by international companies in the Dutch healthcare sector:

  • All Dutch healthcare organizations are private and are responsible for their own organization, management, and ownership structure
  • There are no special rules regarding foreign ownership of Dutch healthcare organizations. They must follow applicable laws and regulations in the same way as existing organizations (including dividend payments, etc.)

These statements clearly show that the current Dutch government is open (or in the worst case neutral) to the entrance of international healthcare companies to the Dutch market.

Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZA) suggests changes to the financing of long-term care

Currently the financing of long-term care in the Dutch market is through a complex process involving operators bidding for one-year contracts from the health insurance companies. This has meant a lot of work for the operators, and uncertainty regarding futures contracts. In addition, the system has meant that the insurance companies had a large say in where clients were sent to.

Based on the results of two pilots, one in the elderly care sector and one in the disabled care sector, the Dutch Healthcare Authority has suggested a dramatic change to the system. In the new way of working financing will not be based on contracts but will follow the client. Instead of negotiating annual contracts, operators will need to prove that they meet required conditions (quality, reporting, organization, etc.). Operators will then be paid a fixed sum per client that choses to use their services.

The advantage to operators will include less work each year related to the negotiation of contracts. The advantage to the client will be that the freedom to choose am optimal service provider will be improved.

This new system will make it much easier for international companies to establish themselves in the Dutch market as they will not need to get contracts with one or more of the Dutch healthcare insurance companies. In addition, this new system will require that operators providing long term care will need to improve their marketing skills in order to attract new clients. This will give (international) operators that are used to competitive markets a large advantage.

Snapshot of a Dutch private sector healthcare operator: Senior Service

Senior Service is a Dutch private company specializing in services enabling the elderly to live longer at home. The company is owned by Floris Vervat, who also owns and operates a company called Jeeves. Jeeves focuses on providing transportation related services such as chauffeurs, shuttle services, etc. Some of these services are provided to hospitals.

Senior Service offers a wide range of non-medical homecare services that replace informal care provided by family and friends. Services offered include cleaning, social care, night watch, transportation, etc. Senior Service operates from regional offices through the Netherlands. The costs of using Senior Service are a combination of a subscription (€9,95/month) and an hourly fee of €34,50 (with a minimum of two hours per visit). Senior Service does not have contracts with municipalities or insurance companies, but clients can often use Personal Budgets (PGBs) or tax refunds to (partly) pay for the required services.