An analysis of new figures from the government platform "Zicht op Ondermijning" indicates that nearly 6000 care providers funded by a personal budget (PGB) currently have a criminal record. Furthermore, the price they charge for their care exceeds the claims of PGB care providers without a criminal record. According to André den Exter, Associate Professor of Health Law at Erasmus School of Law, allowing people with a criminal record in the healthcare sector is asking for trouble. Den Exter also believes that the supervision of this sector can and should be improved.
With the PGB scheme, people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or mental health conditions can personally purchase their care using a budget they receive. This way, those needing care can choose the care providers that meet their requirements without depending on government-contracted care providers. Through a PGB, individuals can take control of their healthcare process. However, an analysis of new figures from the government platform "Zicht op Ondermijning", conducted by the investigative journalism team at RTL Nieuws, reveals that some providers abuse this control.
In 2020, 5750 PGB care providers had a criminal record. The specific offences for which these care providers were convicted are not known to every individual. However, it has been found that in 660 cases, the offences were drug-related, and several providers had prior convictions for fraud or scams. The highest number of PGB care providers with a criminal record is in The Hague, where nearly one in ten providers have a previous conviction. Den Exter finds it "disturbing and concerning" that people with a criminal record are allowed in a sector that, in his opinion, lacks proper supervision. He states: "Ideally, we shouldn't have people with a criminal record offering this kind of care."
Additionally, RTL Nieuws' analysis reveals that care providers with a criminal record charge higher fees per client than providers without a criminal record. In 2020, the claims made by PGB care providers with prior convictions were almost €2000 higher per client. According to Den Exter, this is a cause for alarm. He tells RTL Nieuws: "It is not intended that you claim more than the care provided. This is noteworthy and indicates that people with a criminal record are also inclined to repeat their mistakes."
More supervision, more reliable care
Den Exter sees the value in increased oversight of the PGB care sector. He believes there is a lack of supervision and capacity within the inspection and municipalities. Den Exter suggests: "Strengthening that oversight could be helpful. Particularly in high-risk areas, the focus should be on verifying whether trustworthy caregivers genuinely provide care."
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Read the article of RTL Nieuws here (in Dutch).