Erasmus MC cleared to acquire ADRZ hospital
The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has cleared the acquisition of the Admiraal de Ruyter Hospital (ADRZ) by the Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC). ADRZ has locations in the towns of Goes and Vlissingen, which are situated in the central region of the southern Dutch province of Zeeland. Erasmus MC is located in the city of Rotterdam.
An investigation carried out by ACM has revealed that patients of Erasmus MC and ADRZ seeking general hospital care come from different regions. Patients from the central region of Zeeland predominantly choose ADRZ as their nearest hospital, and do not go to Rotterdam. Conversely, patients from Rotterdam do not choose ADRZ in Zeeland. These hospitals thus do not compete with one another. The acquisition therefore has little effect on the options for consumers.
What do health insurers and patient organizations say about this acquisition?
Health insurers, client councils, and patient organizations are generally positive about the acquisition. They expect to see a boost in quality as well as an improvement in ADRZ’s financial situation.
Erasmus MC is the largest academic medical center in the Netherlands. ACM has assessed whether the acquisition weakens the bargaining position of health insurers, potentially reducing their ability to procure high-complexity care at competitive prices. ACM considers that risk to be small.
For high-complexity care, patients from central Zeeland are indeed willing to travel to Erasmus MC. ADRZ does not offer high-complexity care, and refers most patients seeking such care to Erasmus MC. ACM has assessed whether an increase in the number of referrals from ADRZ to Erasmus MC creates any anticompetitive risks for rival hospitals. ACM has determined that such effects are limited. Furthermore, patients are always allowed to select the hospital they wish to be referred to.
Price cap for ADRZ to remain in place
ADRZ is the only hospital in central Zeeland, and thus has a dominant position. The result of a previous merger in Zeeland, ADRZ has been imposed a price cap by ACM. This cap prevents ADRZ from charging too high prices, and will remain in place. ACM will enforce compliance with that requirement by ADRZ.