The Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) is blocking the takeover of two general practices in Bergen op Zoom by Co-Med. This is an organization that buys up practices and has therefore received negative news coverage several times.
The NZa is ‘not convinced that Co-Med can guarantee that sufficient general practitioner care will be available for patients of both practices after January 1, 2024’. This concerns the GP practices Het Kompas and Pabst.
The current doctors in those practices are retiring and, according to the NZa, Co-Med has ‘not made it sufficiently concrete’ how care for patients will be continued.
The NZa points out that two previous takeover plans did not go well. “Co-Med had taken measures for the continuation of general practitioner care, but in both cases they were unable to achieve this.” An application was then withdrawn and the takeover was reversed.
But even in places where the takeover did go ahead, complaints about inaccessible or non-existent GPs subsequently abounded. For example, patients could not reach their GP in Breda, and a practice in Reusel closed its doors overnight, without patients knowing where they could go. And in Waalwijk a practice suddenly closed for a week because there was no GP available.
Concerns about Co-Med also reached national politics. Several parties called on the House of Representatives to stop takeovers by Co-Med in Bergen op Zoom. The NZa and the Healthcare and Youth Inspectorate also started an investigation into Co-Med.
The NZa contacts the largest health insurer in Bergen op Zoom to arrange for GP care to continue for the patients of the practices.
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Here you can read why the takeover by Co-Med is so controversial