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Further investigation needed into the acquisition of Mauritskliniek by Bergman Clinics

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has not yet cleared the acquisition of health care provider Mauritskliniek by rival provider Bergman Clinics. ACM wishes to conduct a further investigation into whether this acquisition could lead to higher prices for health insurers. That is why Bergman Clinics and Mauritskliniek must apply for an acquisition license.

Bergman Clinics and Mauritskliniek are independent treatment centers (Dutch acronym: ZBCs) focusing on specialist medical care that is plannable and less complex. Bergman Clinics predominantly offers dermatologic, orthopedic, and ophthalmologic care. Bergman Clinics is the largest independent treatment center with over 40 locations across the Netherlands. Mauritskliniek has 5 locations, where mostly dermatologic care is offered.

What is this case about?

Preliminary results of an evaluation study into the acquisition of NL Healthcare Clinics by Bergman Clinics of two years ago have revealed that the prices of treatments by Bergman Clinics may have risen more than those of comparable treatments offered by other independent treatment centers and hospitals. A further investigation into the causes of those price increases is needed because they form the basis on which a better prediction can be made of the consequences of the merger between Bergman Clinics and Mauritskliniek. Various health insurers are critical about this acquisition. They claim that, after the acquisition, health insurers will find it difficult to ignore Bergman Clinics when trying to offer their clients a complete health care package. In that scenario, Bergman Clinics may be able to increase its prices.

These findings are reason enough for ACM to wish to conduct a further investigation. ACM will then assess whether health insurers can be faced with further price increases for patient treatments as a result of the acquisition.

What are the next steps?

If Bergman Clinics and Mauritskliniek wish to go through with their acquisition plans and file a license application, ACM will then further investigate the effects of this acquisition.

ACM’s concentration control: mergers and acquisitions in health care

Through its assessments of mergers and acquisitions, ACM contributes towards the affordability, accessibility, and quality of health care. In ACM’s assessments of mergers and acquisitions, the consequences for patients and insured are central. If patients and health insurers have sufficient options after the merger or acquisition, it will help towards lower prices, higher quality, and more innovation in health care.