Health Minister “Not Optimistic” on Size of Hospital Bill Fraud
THE HAGUE, 24/05/13 - Health Minister Edith Schippers hopes to be able to rein in fraud in healthcare next year by introducing a simpler registration system. She does not know how big the fraud.
The conservative (VVD) minister will try to introduce a system from 1 January 2014 whereby patients are sent a statement following treatment in a hospital which shows in normal words what treatment they have undergone. She cannot however guarantee that this date will be achieved.
Currently, the account goes straight to the insurer. Hospitals indicate by a code which treatment has been carried out. There are suspicions of large-scale fraud by hospitals, which make use of the fact that the insurer and patient have no direct contact with one another on what treatment is carried out.
It thus happens that hospitals charge costs, for example, for operations when someone has just had their ears washed out. The fraud cannot simply be stopped by sending the account to both the insurer and the patient for checking because the treatment codes are incomprehensible. The idea is now to indicate alongside the code what happened in normal language.
Schippers said Thursday in the Lower House she was “not optimistic” about the size of the fraud in the healthcare system. This is still unclear to her. An investigation of the fraud is currently being carried out under the supervision of the Netherlands Healthcare Authority (NZa). Results are expected this year.
In the Lower House, a majority is in favour of first carrying out a fraud test with the introduction of the reforms in long-term care from 2015, as recently agreed. Schippers also agreed to discuss the size and progress of the investigations into fraud in healthcare with the House every six months, at the request of the conservatives (VVD) and centre-left D66.