ACM clears acquisition of Lelystad hospital by rival hospital St Jansdal


The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has cleared the acquisition of the Lelystad location of hospital group MC IJsselmeerziekenhuizen by St Jansdal hospital. The hospital group MC IJsselmeerziekenhuizen went bankrupt in October 2018. The hospital group had multiple locations, and one of those was in the city of Lelystad in central Netherlands. The St Jansdal hospital is located in the nearby city of Harderwijk. With the acquisition of the location in Lelystad,  health care options in the Lelystad area will continue to exist. Owing to the emergency situation that arose because of the bankruptcy, ACM had previously already given permission to proceed with the acquisition, pending a final decision by ACM.

Study into patient groups

The assessment of this acquisition marked the first time that ACM studied the acquisition’s effects on patient groups under its new procedure regarding hospital-care mergers. For a number of patient groups, ACM saw that risks emerged concerning price, quality, and accessibility of health care.. Having studied these effects, ACM established that a smaller hospital would have remained in Lelystad, even without the acquisition.

Furthermore, surrounding hospitals did not expect this acquisition to have any negative consequences for health care. In addition, health insurers indicate that their buyer positions will not deteriorate after the acquisition. The effects of the acquisition on price, quality and accessibility of health care are thus limited, according to ACM.

ACM’s merger control

By assessing mergers and acquisitions in health care, ACM helps keep health care affordable and accessible, and helps maintain the quality of health care. When assessing mergers and acquisitions, ACM puts the consequences of patients and insured first. If patients and health insurers have options, it will help reduce prices, improve quality, and promote innovation.