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Dutch dentists face pricing deregulation and competition

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THE HAGUE – The Healthcare Authority of the Netherlands (NZa) has advised Dutch Public Health Minister Ab Klink that it is time to allow dentists to experiment with setting their prices. If the NZa has its way, the ministry will introduce the concept – with parliamentary approval - for a five-year trial period. The government strives for more competition in the healthcare industry, so physicians as well as dentists, are encouraged to deliver quality care at reasonable cost. This will, so goes the theory, help keep healthcare insurance premiums in line. Earlier, the physiotherapists went down a similar path. Dutch consumer groups welcomed NZa’s advice to hold such a trial period but are already seeking assurances that authorities will step in if the dentists’ rates escalate too much. They also want dentists to display their registration number on all invoices, so clients can determine that a qualified dentist is treating them. The dentists’ professional body hopes to meet with NZa to plan the transition to a more competitive market.