NMa clears hospital merger in northern Dutch province
The merger of hospital De Tjongerschans in Heerenveen and Medical Center Leeuwarden (Health Care Group Noorderbreedte) has been cleared. Having conducted a thorough investigation into the concentration’s effects, the Netherlands Competition Authority (NMa) granted these parties a merger license. The NMa has concluded that the concentration will not have any adverse effects on competition. Enough other hospitals will continue to exist to which patients can go in case they are unhappy with the products and services of the two merger hospitals.
The merger parties offer inpatient and outpatient hospital care in the northern Dutch province of Friesland. Among other things it did in its investigation into the concentration’s effects, the NMa identified patient flows, and it interviewed rival hospitals, general practitioners, and the region’s largest health insurer. The investigation revealed that numerous other hospitals, such as Antonius Hospital, Nij Smellinghe, and UMCG, are real alternatives to both hospitals, and that patients are willing to travel to these alternatives. Moreover, according to the largest health insurer in Friesland, the merger would not have any adverse effects on competition.
As is usual in health care-related cases, the NMa consulted with the Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) in its investigation. The merger decision (in Dutch) will be published as soon as possible (www.acm.nl).