The cabinet is backing an experiment to introduce a reward system for positive outcomes of the treatment of depression, Trouw reported on Wednesday.

The system, which is already operational for heart and knee surgery, will see insurers make an extra pay out if the results are good. The experiment, carried out by insurer Menzis, will monitor the results of people treated for minor depression.

Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis told MPs in a briefing that the proposal, launched earlier this summer by health insurance group Menzis, ‘dovetailed with cabinet ambitions.’

‘Healthcare should be about the result, not the cost,’ Blokhuis said.

Psychiatrists and patient organisations have called the plan’s feasibility in doubt, the paper writes. They are questioning how the success rate of a treatment can be measured by the ggz mental health institutions, 20 of which have already signed up for the experiment.



Opposition party GroenLinks has voiced fears a financial incentive could induce mental health institutions to select patients and that psychiatrists could come under pressure to shorten treatments.

Blokhuis has assured MPs that ‘this is not a no pay no cure system. A clinic will get the normal compensation plus ‘a bonus’ if it can be shown it has achieved better results for a whole group, not an individual patient.

The junior minister said he is convinced patients will benefit. Menzis will only be rewarded for results that matter to patients, such as fewer symptoms, an improvement in the quality of life, client satisfaction, waiting time and the sustainability of the improvement in health, he told MPs.

The political backing is not necessary but will give Menzis an extra boost in the face of controversy, Trouw writes. More mental health institutions might want to participate in the experiment.