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Minister tells doctors and patients to come up with health cuts

Sunday 10 February 2013

Doctors' and patients' organisations should come up with their own proposals for reducing the size of the basic health insurance package, health minister Edith Schippers said on Sunday.

The health ministry has to shave €1.5bn from the cost of the basic policy package as part of the government's spending cuts.

Suggestions on how to do this by the health service advisory board – including cutting payments for psychiatric care and stopping funding expensive treatments for rare diseases – have been condemned by doctors and patients.

Every time the CvZ advisory body makes a suggestion ‘the world explodes’, Schippers told television current affairs show Buitenhof. ‘Everyone says "you really can’t do that".’

Doctors' and patients' organisations have welcomed the move, Nos television said. ‘There is support among doctors and patients to solve this together,’ a spokesman for doctors' organisation KNMG said.

Extra payments

The basic package covers treatment which the government considers to be essential. Extra items, such as dental care, long-term physiotherapy and alternative medicine are paid for either by patients directly or top-up policies.

Earlier this month, the Dutch health authority NZa warned health insurance companies they face fines if they fail to check that hospital bills are accurate or inflated.

The warning follows the case of a hospital in Terneuzen which charged an insurance company €1,066.73 for removing ear wax, describing the process as a 'microscoptic ear clean' and 'removing polyps'. A year earlier, the same treatment cost €110.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

I can't tell you how many expensive medications I have seen listed in the EPD from hospitals that were not actually administered. I suspect it is hospitals trying to make money from insurance companies. A very good first step would be to integrate patients into the billing process and give them a patient-friendly bill to approve before insurance pays out (preferably online). Give patients an incentive to do it, like a percentage of the cost of an error. This would also have the added benefit that patients would have access to their records and be able to fix mistakes, which currently is difficult and sometimes impossible to do, leading to repeated mistakes and potential higher medical costs.

By Quest | 10 February 2013 6:34 PM

Another idea ... make hospitals responsible for mistakes that they caused. For example, in NL there are many preventable cases of pressure ulcers in hospital caused by lack of nursing. Hospitals should pay for this and not insurers.

By Quest | 10 February 2013 6:37 PM

Please save money by closing down the ME centers that only provide treatment based on the "false illness belief" model. These are useless and even harmful to patients that are already physically very ill.

By Valentijn | 11 February 2013 9:02 AM

Removing ear wax and removing polyps(aural polypectomy) are two different things. An aural polypectomy requires surgery under general anesthetic, biopsy and histology of the tissue. According to the universal fee schedule it is an appropriate charge. Ministers should not be deciding about charges per procedure. Who is on this panel at the NZa?

By M | 11 February 2013 10:53 AM

Hell! I've been forced by Dutch Ministers (& Brutish Ministers) to do exactly this and get nothing but ABUSE for it!!!! I had a Dutchman shaking and in Shock here last week translating my 2007 medical Notes that talk about Cancer and MS!!!! Anyway, Traditional Chinese Doctors on the Basic Package same as Husiarts, Low cost GOOD medicines available on basic package, and this would cut the enormous costs caused by so many prescribed 'synthetic crap' that Drs don't bother to read about before dishing out to trusting patients. Elldith, if you forced good food to be lower priced than junk food you could seriously cut the health care budget!

By Gerard | 11 February 2013 12:00 PM

Another idea would be to get rid of Schippers and find a competent health minister. And, while you're at it, get rid of this worthless coalition government.

By Quince | 11 February 2013 3:45 PM

There is no doubt in my mind that widescale fraud is taking place but nobody wishes to talk about it. Pharmacies who deliberately dish out too few tablets 'we didn't want to break open a new box, hoor!' or the substitution of named items for cheaper, lower quality generics.

It's hard to prosecute fraud when the whole nation is at it, and treat it as a bit of sport.

By osita | 11 February 2013 4:40 PM

I have nothing against adults gambling their own health with witchcraft (e.g., non-scientific medicine), but I don't think we should pay it via basic insurance for things like homeopathy, faith healers, plant extracts (= juices) etc.

By A.L. | 11 February 2013 6:33 PM

They should do away the own risk and make people pay a certain percentage of the healthcare costs they consumed.

By ufo | 12 February 2013 8:53 AM

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