Update 8 May 2018

For those of you in north-west Europe, I hope that you have been enjoying the great weather. In this update on private healthcare in the Netherlands we cover:

  • For the first time a private chain of clinics has signed a multiyear contract with one of the leading Dutch insurance companies. Are the insurance companies starting to understand the value that private healthcare operators bring to the market?
  • Ongoing change in the dentistry sector. Will this increase the speed of consolidation in the sector?
  • Turkish hospital chain expands beyond Amsterdam. Are they developing a national organization?
  • Further consolidation in the diagnostics and laboratory sector. Has the dam broken?
  • In our snapshot we give an overview of Atalmedial, the private company who has acquired the laboratory activities of MC Slotervaart.

Multi-year contract for DC Klinieken

Recently Zilveren Kruis (one of the larger healthcare insurance companies) and DC Klinieken signed a three -year contract making it easier and cheaper for Zilveren Kruis customers to use the services of DC Klinieken. DC Klinieken is a chain of 14 clinics with 500 employees offering medical services related to diagnostics, neurology and orthopedics, skin diseases, and gynecology.

Typically contracts between insurance companies and operators are for one year only. According to Zilveren Kruis, this three-year contract will allow discussions to move away from volumes and tariffs to innovation and better results for the patients. For DC Klinieken this is positive news and it gives the organization more certainty about its revenues. It can also be seen as a “thumbs up” for private clinics in general and DC Klinieken specifically.

Ongoing changes in the dentistry sector will probably speed up consolidation

In a report released a few days ago the dentist association reported that there will be a shortage of dentists in the Dutch market and that many elderly dentists are already having problems in finding a successor. This is especially the case in the more rural parts of the Netherlands. The association suggests that the number of dentistry students needs to be increased.

In the same week the Minister of Healthcare announced that he will proceed with changes to existing laws that will allow dental hygienists to independently carry out activities such as providing anesthesia and filling cavities, The dentist association is very much against such a change as they claim that it will lead to lower quality.

Both these news items should make the position of the dental care chains stronger. The shortage of dentists should lead to a decreasing number of independent dentist and allow the chains to fill the gaps in the market. Professional chains should also be more capable of developing processes related to using cheaper personnel (dental hygienists) to carry out routine activities than independent practitioners.

Acibadem expands activities to outside of Amsterdam

Acibadem is a leading Turkish hospital operator with 22 hospitals and 19 medical clinics in five countries that opened a new hospital in Amsterdam one year ago. It has now opened two new locations in Utrecht and Eindhoven and is working on opening locations in other Dutch cities. It definitely appears that Acibadem wants to develop a national organization. How will the current traditional hospitals who currently operate in regional monopolies react to this development?

Further consolidation in the diagnostics and laboratory sector

MC Group (sister organization of DC Klinieken) runs private hospitals in the Amsterdam and central part of the Netherlands. It has recently announced that it has transferred its diagnostics, laboratory, and thrombosis care activities to Atalmedial. After this acquisition Atalmedial becomes one of the largest diagnostics companies in the Netherlands (see snapshot). Coming after the recent acquisition of Medlon by Unilabs (see update 21 March) this means that the sector is seriously starting to consolidate.

Snapshot of a Dutch private sector healthcare operator: Atalmedial

Atalmedial is the result of a fusion between two local diagnostics companies in 2012. One of these (Atal) was focused on Amsterdam, and the other (Medial) was focused on the area between Amsterdam and The Hague (west coast of the Netherlands). The resulting company is one of the largest diagnostics companies in the Netherlands with 700 employees and 5.500 diagnostics tests per day. In addition to diagnostics the company provides services to 22.000 thrombosis patients.

Atalmedial has recently taken over the diagnostics and thrombosis services of the MC Groep. After the acquisition Atalmedial will have 1.000 employees. As part of the deal with the MC Groep Atalmedial will invest €4.8 million in a new laboratory at the Slotervaart hospital. Atalmedial is a non-profit foundation.