Over 90 pct. of GPs dissatisfied with health insurers

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Most house doctors (92 percent) who have signed a contract with health insurers are dissatisfied with the contract. This is according to a survey by the Landelijke Huisartsen Vereniging (LHV), NOS reports.

One of the reasons for the dissatisfaction is the GPs limited bargaining power with the insurers. The LHV can not negotiate on behalf of the doctors as it would put the Competition act at risk. GPs feel that they are powerless.

Another part of the doctors problems is that they are basically forced to sign such contracts. If they do not, they will not be reimbursed for certain treatments. There is also criticism regarding the content of the contracts. Through financial incentives health insurers encourage practitioners to prescribe certain cheap medicine. Some insurance companies also reward GPs if they refer patients to laboratories under contract with the health insurer. GP Vincent Coenen objects to the financial incentives. "As a doctor you need to be independent and a patient should be confident that you are working in the best interest of the patient, without you having some financial interest in the matter."

Minister Edith Schippers recognizes that there is an uneven playing filed between GPs and health insurers and came up with an arbitration committee where doctors can take their complaints. But house doctors think that this is insufficient. "I'm glad they see that something needs to change, but this is a mere palliative." said GP Bart Bruijn.

Ella Kalsbeek, president of the LHV, thinks the way the insurers are dealing with the GPs is unwise. "Insurers desperately need doctors to improve healthcare and keep it affordable. In this way the insurers are putting the cooperation at risk."

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