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Netherlands

Third of mental health institutions in financial trouble

Over one in three mental healthcare institutions made a loss last year. According to the Intrakoop cooperative, which monitors the mental health sector’s finances annually, 35 percent ended the year in the red, a doubling compared to a year earlier. The results of financially healthy institutions also declined. The researchers attribute this to significantly increased costs.

“Rising personnel costs due to the tight labor market, sky-high absenteeism, and significantly higher energy costs have left their mark,” Intrakoop summarized. Added up, the 166 organizations surveyed recorded a financial result of 66 million euros, compared to 213 million euros in 2021.

Trade organization Dutch Mental Health Care (GGZ) warned that mental healthcare was “sagging to the bottom.” According to chairman Ruth Peetoom, the rates currently paid are “completely insufficient” and are mainly at the expense of help for people with complex psychological problems, like schizophrenia or eating disorders. “The rates for this complex care, in particular, are inadequate.”

Intrakoop director Ruud Plu also finds the declining results worrying. “What worries me most is that the large middle group and the largest mental health organizations are having a hard time.” There is no end in sight because costs have only risen further due to inflation. Wage costs will also rise further. According to the collective labor agreement made this summer, employees are entitled to wage increases, starting with a 5 percent step up in November this year and another 2 percent in January. The costs of hiring self-employed people increased even more by over 20 percent.

In the mental healthcare sector, an average of 8.1 percent of employees were absent due to illness last year. That is 0.6 percent more than in 2021. It also cost a lot of money, approximately 450 million euros. Because profits have evaporated, institutions have hardly any money left for innovation, maintenance, and other investments, Intrakoop warned.

Most institutions can still pay their bills in the short term, but the situation is not sustainable, according to the trade association. “When will municipalities, health insurers, and healthcare officers hear this alarm bell? Action is really needed now,” said Peetoom.

https://nltimes.nl/2023/10/26/third-mental-health-institutions-financial-trouble Third of mental health institutions in financial trouble

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