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OLVG hospital allowed to acquire parts of Slotervaart hospital

02-05-2019

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has cleared the acquisition of several parts of the bankrupt Slotervaart hospital by the OLVG hospital, both of which are located in Amsterdam. Although the acquisition leads to a stronger position of the OLVG, ACM’s investigation has revealed that the patients of the Slotervaart hospital would have gone to the OLVG anyway, even if this acquisition had not taken place.

The Slotervaart hospital went bankrupt at the end of last year. At the time, parts of the Slotervaart hospital were relocated to nearby hospitals, thereby ensuring the continuation of health care in this region in the short term.

A large number of specialisms of the Slotervaart hospital were located to the nearby OLVG such as gastroenterology, geriatrics, and pulmonology. Because of the emergency situation, ACM had previously granted clearance for the acquisition, subject to a definitive decision by ACM. Subsequently, ACM conducted an investigation into the structural consequences of the acquisition for patients and health insurers in Amsterdam.

Martijn Snoep, Chairman of the Board of ACM, comments: ‘This was a special situation. Patients needed to have a solution fast, because of the hospital’s bankruptcy. Many parties worked together to realize this. The provision of health care to patients could not be interrupted. In situations such as these, that is also one of our priorities. At the same time, it is ACM’s job to conduct a thorough assessment of the long-term consequences of this acquisition for patients.’

Patients choose OLVG after bankruptcy

ACM comes to the conclusion that the acquisition of said parts of the Slotervaart hospital will lead to a stronger position of the OLVG. However, the OLVG would have gained this stronger position after the bankruptcy anyway, even without the acquisition. The OLVG is located very close to the bankrupt Slotervaart hospital. ACM’s research shows that patients would have turned to that hospital anyway for their health care needs with regard to those specialisms. This was revealed by ACM’s investigation into patients’ choices for other hospitals in the past, and by analyses of travel times to surrounding hospitals.

Mergers and acquisitions in health care

Through its assessment of mergers and acquisitions in health care, ACM helps improve the quality and affordability of health care. When assessing mergers and acquisitions, the consequences for patients and health insurers are central. If patients and health insurers have a choice, it will lead to lower prices, higher quality, and more innovation.