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Impact of COVID-19 on our finances

As in 2020, the umbrella organizations of hospitals, UMCs and health insurers together made agreements at an early stage already to offer hospitals and UMCs that provide COVID-19 care the guarantee of coverage for their their COVID-19 costs and lost income. This was put down in a framework agreement in Medical Specialist Care (MSZ) of 2021 for healthcare contracts and a financial safety net. In addition, phase 2d of the ‘COVID-19 upscale plan’ once again came into force on 25 November 2021. This phase imposes a number of requirements on hospitals and UMCs, for instance to downscale care and the distribution of patients. Phase 2d stipulates that during this phase, health insurers will where necessary agree to take care of any possible financial consequences. There may be no financial impediment to the establishment and execution of agreements that are made in the scope of the regionally coordinated acute care chain (ROAZ). As in 2020, the MSZ arrangement in 2021 also includes a hardship clause. This hardship clause provides the guarantee that hospitals will not realize any negative result for 2021 as a result of COVID-19. For revenues that are not covered by health insurers, the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport has pledged to make an effort also in 2021 to prevent hospitals from going into the red. The VWS Ministry is also making an availability contribution to help cover the extra costs of IC beds in 2021 and 2022. This has helped to limit the uncertainties caused by COVID-19 in the winding up of the (claims) years 2020 and 2021.

Due to the considerable pressure on our staff and organization, we had to make choices and determine priorities with regard to our programs/projects.

It is good to see how on the basis of trust all stakeholders, including hospitals, health insurance companies, the safety region and the VWS Ministry, have worked hard and responded fast in the past two years to mitigate the various financial risks of COVID-19 for healthcare, education and research. When drawing up the financial statements for 2021, we still had to deal with accumulated arrangements from 2020 and 2021 and uncertainties over the detailed application of these arrangements and the use of and accountability for resources received. We took account of these uncertainties in drawing up the financial statements.

Besides our core tasks of healthcare, research and education, our underlying management and (strategic) programs/projects were also affected by COVID-19. Due to the considerable pressure on our staff and organization, we had to make choices and determine priorities with regard to our programs/projects. Certain programs/projects were still able to continue fully or partially in 2021, while other programs/projects had to be postponed. These were in particular projects that relate to the implementation of our Strategic Accommodation Plan (SOH) and those relating to our Connecting Worlds strategy. The expenses that would have accompanied these were therefore not made in 2021. We moved these forward to the coming years.