DutchNews, October 5, 2015
Health insurers will interfer less in the care offered by family doctors and will stop offering financial incentives to use particular treatments.
This is the result of an agreement reached on Monday by doctors, insurers, the health ministry and health organisations.
Family doctors have been very unhappy about the contracts they are being asked to sign by health insurance companies.
Doctors have to sign contracts with health insurers to ensure their patients are covered for treatment. But many say insurance companies are unwilling to negotiate while others sign the deals because they feel they have no alternative, a survey in January by the doctors’ association LHV found.
Since 2006, health insurers have been tasked by the health ministry with bringing down the cost of health care. As a result, contracts with family doctors have included rewards being coupled to the prescribing of specific anti-depressants, regardless of what suits the patient.
Some family doctors are also being rewarded for using research labs with which the health insurer has a contract.
Many doctors were furious about these contracts, seeing them as moving patient care from the surgery to the insurer.
The new agreement brings in three important and major changes. Family doctors will have more equality with insurers and more flexibility in what treatments they can offer.
In addition, bureaucracy will be decreased by scrapping unnecessary administration, and a less time-consuming method for checking the quality of doctors will be introduced.
‘Health insurers will again trust the expertise of the family doctor,’ doctors’ association LHV chairwoman Ella Kalsbeek told the NRC. ‘That is very important. It will give doctors more time for what is most important: care of the patient,’