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NMa: Competition in Hospital and Exceptional

The Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) has concluded that changes in the exceptional healthcare sector (healthcare subject to the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ)) have created scope for competition. Providers of hospital care now also have sufficient opportunities to compete with each other. According to NMa, this means that the Competition Act can be applied in these sectors. NMa draws this conclusion in the position documents 'Competition in the Hospital Sector' and 'Markets for Exceptional Healthcare (AWBZ)'.

NMa concludes that the economic and legal context in which providers of exceptional healthcare and hospital care operate offers scope for competition. Under the present rules, hospitals and providers of exceptional healthcare can exercise more influence on the composition, quality and quantity of the care provided. To increase the opportunities offered by Personal Budgets, customers also have more freedom of choice with regard to exceptional healthcare. The Competition Act therefore applies to these providers. With regard to exceptional healthcare, however, competition rules do not apply to healthcare agencies, since they are not companies in terms of the Competition Act.

Since the Competition Act applies to these sectors, this means that NMa can assess mergers and acquisitions substantively and can assess cartel agreements and abuses of economic positions.

With the publication of these position documents, NMa has completed its investigations into the opportunities for suppliers of hospital and exceptional healthcare to compete. Within this framework, NMa published two consultation documents in June 2003 with an initial analysis of the opportunities for competition within the above-mentioned sectors. The persons involved were given an opportunity to respond to these documents. The responses have been incorporated into the position documents. The position documents are obtainable from NMa's website

See also visiedocument AWBZ-zorgmarkten

See also visiedocument concurrentie in de ziekenhuissector