Dutch Home Care at a crossroad

2015 will be a challenging year for Dutch Home Care. In order to cut costs the Dutch government has decided that the financing and structure of the Home Care industry will be changed drastically. Municipalities have become responsible for the domestic help. The Health Insurers will fund the regular more skilled care and nursing at home. It is not only this split in responsibility, which is causing a lot of uncertainty and tension in the market but especially the cut in budget from no less than 25-30%.

Already several Home care organisations specialized in domestic help have filed for bankruptcy and expectations are that many more will follow. Also Municipalities are faced with problems and questions they have never have dealt with before.

There are no easy solutions to these problems although politicians believe that they can fix it with new regulations, taskforces and better control.  The initial purpose of this change to simplify the system is overrun by next wave of bureaucracy.

With our Anglo-Saxon way of thinking, managers almost automatically start cutting cost by decreasing the number of personnel, lowering wages, cutting service times, etc. This type of measures only helps on the short term. “You can’t grow by slimming down”. For a sustainable future, effective measurements must be put in place, which is focussing on the balance between Customer Satisfaction – Employee satisfaction and Financially, sound performance (Shareholder satisfaction).

Optimizing needs to become one of the buzzwords in the healing environment for a suffering Home Care industry. Not only optimizing the execution of the care-tasks but also in the way the work of the home care employees is organised such as workload balancing, travel time management, waiting time reduction so that more time can be spent in caring for customers. Which is what it is all about.

We need to stop this year on year increase of our total healthcare spend (94,2 billion euro’s in 2013).  Home Care organisations need to learn to operate in a volatile world where results count and no longer automatisms are in place for guaranteeing payment of all the costs in order to survive.

For Home Care organisations this would mean that they need to work smarter and need to focus on their most valuable assets, their employees by deploying them in the most optimal way, to cut bureaucracy and maximize the time care takers can spend with their clients.

Jos Kuijpers
Managing Partner
Archos Group