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ACM clears merger between two southern Dutch hospitals

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has cleared the merger between two hospitals in the western part of the southern Dutch province of Noord-Brabant. These hospitals are St. Franciscus Ziekenhuis in the city of Roosendaal and Lievensberg Ziekenhuis in the city of Bergen op Zoom.After the merger, health insurers will continue to be able to negotiate good deals for their clients. In the post-merger situation, two major hospital groups will be competing with each other in the western part of Noord-Brabant: Amphia Ziekenhuis in the city of Breda, and the new merger hospital in Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal.

One of ACM’s considerations in its decision to clear the merger is that requirements for hospital care quality are becoming increasingly stricter, and that each of these two hospitals would likely not be able to meet those requirements on their own. Chris Fonteijn, Chairman of the Board of ACM, comments: ‘As a result of the merger, certain types of hospital care in the area of Bergen op Zoom and Roosendaal are able to continue to be offered such as oncology. And that is good for patients.

Various patient organizations, apart from NPCF, have indicated that they do not object the merger. Health insurers are predominantly positive about the merger because it creates two hospital groups in that region that compete with one another ACM attaches great value to the opinions of patient organizations and health insurers. It carefully weighed the different positions against each other.

ACM recently published a memo ‘Assessing mergers and collaborations in hospital care,’ in which it explains how it assesses mergers and collaborations in hospital care.