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No clearance yet for merger between two southern Dutch hospitals

Two southern Dutch hospitals are not allowed to merger just yet. Based in the greater Eindhoven area, Catharina Hospital and St. Anna Hospital will have to apply for a merger license if they want to go through with their planned merger. This has been the conclusion of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) after conducting an investigation into the planned merger.

ACM has established that, after the merger, few options for general hospital care will remain in the greater Eindhoven area for patients and health insurers. The catchment areas of the hospitals in question partially overlap each other. Health insurers negotiate with the hospitals about the procurement of health care. Most health insurers are critical of the planned merger because, after the merger, they will no longer be able to use St. Anna Hospital as an alternative in the negotiations with Catharina Hospital and other hospitals in the area. That reduces their bargaining position. And this, in turn, could lead to higher health care costs for the insured.

If the hospitals decide to apply for a license, ACM will carry out an additional investigation.