NZA still declines to disclose healthcare costs

The Netherlands Health Authority has declined a request by Open State Foundation over the disclosure of data on all declared healthcare costs per healthcare provider. Open State Foundation decided to take the lack of health care costs transparency to court.

On March 28, 2014 Open State Foundation filed a complaint against the decision taken by DBC Informatie Systeem (DIS) on its FOIA request for declared health care products, by care product, per month, per healthcare provider and hospital tariffs and the prices charged by healthcare providers. Open State Foundation made the request for this information to be disclosed in a machine-readable format or made as raw data available. The Netherlands Health Authority decided not to unlock data on health costs on the basis that these data are confidential.

During a hearing at the Netherlands Health Authority on 6 June 2014, Open State Foundation has explained her complaint. Research from the Netherlands Health Authority itself shows that the cost-consciousness of consumers is high. It stated that information for consumers is a major pillar of the health care system and that it should be transparent and comparable. The lack of price transparency in health care threatens to erode public trust. The Netherlands Council for Health Care has recently stated that in order to improve quality, accessibility and affordability of care, it is essential that non-identifiable health care data becomes available for public purposes. As patients assume greater responsibility for their healthcare needs, they need the information that will allow them to make informed healthcare decisions.