Dutch health insurers sign integral agreement on prevention


Health insurers in the Netherlands have signed the Healthy & Active Living Agreement (GALA), in which the state, municipalities and key parties in healthcare will cooperate in the field of prevention. Georgette Fijneman, Zilveren Kruis board chairman and board member of Zorgverzekeraars Nederland (ZN), did so on behalf of the health insurers.

”Healthy eating, regular exercise, good sleep, no stress about your finances and sufficient social contact. These are all things that affect your health. If we take good care of ourselves, we can prevent care. And prevention is better than cure. This is not only important for each individual insured person – after all, nobody likes being ill. But also for society. Because preventing care contributes to keeping care accessible and affordable in the future”, says Georgette Fijneman.

Healthy lifestyle and prevention agreements
Last summer, health insurers made agreements in the Integral Care Agreement (IZA) in the field of healthy lifestyles and prevention, with an explicit focus on disease prevention and cooperation between healthcare and the social/public domain. By linking the agreements from both IZA and the agreements between the national government and municipalities in GALA, there is now a working agenda with agreements on setting up the regional prevention infrastructure and on the various chain approaches

Integral approach
The Dutch Association of Municipalities (VNG) and ZN already agreed to act together in 2022 in the so-called Prevention Statement. With GALA, it is the first time that there will be an integral approach across the various (care) domains in the field of healthy lifestyle and prevention.
The approach starts with a broad inventory of issues that play a role around the child, family or resident and the environment in which he or she lives or grows up. These may play a role in the problems that may arise. By working together, care providers and municipalities can, for instance, offer customised care and support, close to home, matching the resident’s need for help. This fits well with the movement towards personalised care and support.

GALA is beginning
“This is only the beginning,” says Georgette Fijneman. “At regional level, cooperation agreements must be made between health insurers, municipalities and healthcare and social domain professionals based on the regional images and plans.” To implement these agreements, it is important that they know how to find each other. For instance, the GP knows where his patient can go for debt problems or the internist knows where an overweight child (and its parents) can get care and support.
Fijneman: “With this GALA agreement, we are building on previous agreements, initiatives and experiments in the border area of care and support. In this way, we are contributing to a healthy generation in 2040 that grows up, lives, works and lives in a healthy living environment with a strong social basis, while working on keeping care affordable and accessible in the future.”