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ACM offers room for collaborations as part of the Right Care in the Right Place

19-07-2019

Arrangements between health care providers and health insurers about relocating health care between providers as part of ‘the Right Care in the Right Place’ (in Dutch: De Juiste Zorg op de Juiste Plek) may be in violation of the Dutch Competition Act. However, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will not impose any fines for such arrangements as long as several criteria are met. These criteria have been laid down in a draft policy rule drawn up by ACM. Health insurers, health care providers, patient organizations, and other interested parties have until September 8 to respond. A final version of the policy rule will be released in the fall.

ACM will not impose any fines if any arrangements made have been based on a plan regarding the available health care capacity in a particular region, and if that plan has been drawn up in an objective manner, and if it has been made public. Another criterion that ACM has set is that patient organizations must be fully involved in the creation of that plan. In that way, it is safeguarded that the relocation of health care between providers helps improve health care quality, and helps maintain health care affordable and accessible.

What is ‘the Right Care in the Right Place’?

The Right Care in the Right Place is an initiative of different health care market participants. They wish to prevent the need for receiving a more expensive form of health care, to provide health care closer to people’s homes, and to replace some forms of health care provision with other forms such as e-Health. All of this will help people with illnesses or disabilities live and function better. The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) supports this initiative. With its policy rule, ACM contributes towards realizing high-quality, accessible, and affordable health care.

Health care providers and health insurers wish to make arrangements among each other about the type of health care and the region on which a specific provider will focus or about relocating health care between providers. It cannot be taken for granted that such relocations of health care will always lead to more affordable health care or to higher quality. After all, such relocations could also lead to higher prices and reduced accessibility for patients, insured or health insurers. If that is the case, the arrangements are not in the interest of high-quality, accessible and more affordable health care, but violate the Dutch Competition Act.

Criteria for collaborations as part of the Right Care in the Right Place

ACM will not impose any fines for arrangements regarding relocating health care delivery as part of the Right Care in the Right Place if such arrangements meet certain criteria. In that context, patient organizations play a significant role as they need to be fully involved in the creation of these arrangements. In addition, ACM will not impose any fines for collaborations between health insurers if such are necessary for the realization of the health care relocations. With the policy rule, ACM provides clarity about its oversight of arrangements between health care providers and health insurers regarding the relocation of health care as part of the Right Care in the Right Place. 

Would you like to respond? You have until September 8 to do so. Please read the consultation document for more information. 

ACM’s oversight of relocation of health care delivery as part of the Right Care in the Right Place (in Dutch)