‘Decentralise nursing home system’

Local councils and health insurance companies should take over responsibility for organising and funding nursing homes and other residential care, the government’s healthcare advisory council RVZ said on Thursday.

The cost of the current state-run funding system (known as the AWBZ) is set to rise 20% over the next four years and now accounts for some 40% of all health spending.
By scrapping the AWBZ and shifting responsibility to the private sector, insurers would be stimulated to keep costs as low as possible, the RVZ said in its report. For example, insurers would do all they could to keep patients out of nursing homes by encouraging care in the community.
Several hundred thousand people are currently cared for in AWBZ homes.
‘Large groups of patients, particular the elderly and mentally-handicapped, could be better off in the new situation,’ the report said. ‘The advantages will only become apparent once insurers and local authorities can lead the drive towards better organised service provision.’
However, people with Downs syndrome or schizophrenia may not be better off under an insurance-run set-up and a small group of patients would be un-insurable, the report concluded.
Junior health minister Jet Bussemaker, who commissioned the report, told NOS tv she would not comment on the recommendations until a second report into reforming the AWBZ system has been completed by the SER advisory council.

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