Open State takes transparency dispute data health care to court

The Netherlands Health Authority has two weeks to take a decision over the disclosure of data on all declared healthcare costs per healthcare provider. Open State Foundation takes the lack of health care costs transparency to court.

On March 31, 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 statutory period has now expired, and the Netherlands Health Authority is obliged to take a decision within two weeks, otherwise the way to court is open. In order to obtain a decision, Open State Foundation has stated its intention advance that it will follow this route.

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. Price and costs are not the only information needed to make these decisions but are an essential component.