Inspectorate advises GP chain Co-med to share patient records immediately

The company is not cooperating with the emergency plan that insurers have created to provide general medical care to Co-med patients. Under that plan, Co-med must give access to its records to general practitioners, who Co-med patients can now contact with their healthcare questions.

Come-med does it “not or insufficiently”, the Health and Youth Inspection (IGJ) stated today. Therefore, the supervisor imposes the strictest possible supervisory measure on the company. Com-med must immediately arrange access to the files, otherwise “a situation could arise that poses a serious threat to the safety of patients.”

If Co-med continues to refuse, this could lead to a fine or even the removal of directors. The sole director of Co-med, Guy Vroemen, wants to oppose by Volkskrant He did not respond, but told the NOS that it is difficult to open the files because not all patients have given permission to do so.

In the message, Vroemen also says that the organization is now fighting sickness absenteeism of more than 50 percent due to “messages that health insurers and the Dutch health authority have published in the media.” In an internal email, by Volkskrant He also states that the emergency plan “in our opinion does not offer sufficient guarantees and is not sufficient.”

The IGJ has little interest in this claim. In the ruling, the IGJ points to two articles of law that oblige the general practitioners’ organisation to ‘fully cooperate’ with the emergency plan; (Temporary) access to the records of patients who see another GP is part of this.

Payments of sanctions and suspension of contracts

The IGJ also intervened on Wednesday in Co-med. Then the supervisor imposed the ‘penalty’ (a kind of fine, ed.) which imposed it on Co-med earlier this month. Because the company did not have emergency care even after the measures taken earlier by the inspectorate, and the staff schedules showed that there were not enough staff in the surgeries, Com-med had to pay a daily fine from the June 18, which could amount to a total of 750 thousand euros.

However, that measure quickly became irrelevant. Last Thursday (June 20), all health insurers simultaneously suspended their contracts and payments to Co-med. Last Tuesday, health insurers formally terminated their contracts and payments entirely.

That decision causes problems for Co-med, Vroemen writes in the internal email. The company will appeal that decision, but if ‘health insurers do not respond immediately’, Co-med will not be able to pay salaries this month. «In the worst case scenario, this (the action of health insurers, ed.) can lead to bankruptcy.’

Comed has been under fire for years due to poor accessibility, lack of doctors and inadequate emergency care. But the expected fall of the company gained strength, after an article in by Volkskrant which showed that unauthorized personnel had to treat patients against their will, that doctors were hired whose colleagues reported to the inspection and that situations of great risk for patients occurred. One baby nearly suffocated and another patient may have died as a result of poor organization of care.

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