The government will monitor the economy in the health sector more closely. It also has consequences for foster farmers. By June 1, 2023, they must account for their financial management, results, and capital throughout the enterprise, including the agricultural branch. This emerged after consultation between LTO Nederland and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.
LTO Nederland believes that the measure goes too far. In a letter to the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), the interest group calls for an exception for the approximately 1,250 foster farmers in the Netherlands.
The reason for the obligation to publish the data on an annual basis is that care is often paid for collectively. Healthcare providers must therefore be socially responsible. They must be made responsible for the continuity of care, integrity and professionalism in business operations, says the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports. The measure is part of the Accession Act for Health Providers, which enters into force on 1 January next year.
Unrest care farmers
According to chairman Arjan Monteny of the LTO Nederland branch of multifunctional agriculture, the initiative is leading to unrest, especially among smaller foster farmers with a larger branch of agriculture. ‘Not only the larger care companies, but also companies that achieve, for example, 5 percent turnover from care and the majority from agricultural production, must be completely exposed financially.’
It is justified in publicly funded healthcare, he says. “But it does not matter what economic results they get from agricultural production or their other industries. We fear that it will put foster farmers at a competitive disadvantage in their agriculture and other business activities. We find this disproportionate, unreasonable and inappropriate. ‘
Call via Twitter
One of the smaller care farmers is beef breeder Wouter Hartendorf from Santpoort-Syd in North Holland. He recently called on outgoing Minister Hugo de Jonge and Secretary of State Paul Blokhuis via Twitter to exclude foster care from the rules.
Hartendorf has spoken to his accountant about a possible closure of his care home if the move is implemented anyway. ‘These rules are intended for healthcare institutions. More transparency is needed. As foster farmers, we have nothing to do with that. I am a farmer, not a helper. I take a few people in because I want to do something good for society, not to make a lot of money. Society is screaming for foster farmers and for sufficiently good care places. But if we are prevented in this way, we are forced to stop. “
He has nothing to hide, says Hartendorf, but will not disclose the finances of his entire company. ‘Jan and everyone will soon be able to see what the income of my company is and how much I earn with my beef cattle. That’s nobody’s business. Nor what colleagues earn from selling their milk, onions and carrots. You do not ask people in paid employment for their payslip, do you? This is crazy. ‘
The Department of Multifunctional Agriculture consults with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Care on possible solutions for foster farmers. It is highly doubtful whether, for example, a division of the care farm and the agricultural business is a solution, Monteny believes. “It is still very unclear whether this will change the measure, auditors say. It will probably be examined whether companies together form a tax entity. ‘
Moreover, business splitting is a huge cost item, Monteny says. »Hiring an accountant and a notary can easily cost 5,000 euros. And then a separate annual report must be prepared every year. ‘
There is another reason why the MFL president is not in favor of division. ‘The core of care agriculture is the connection between care and the agricultural sector. When you start tinkering with this, you get the core of care farming. That is a bad development. ‘
Monteny fears that the supply of care agriculture will deteriorate if the measure is also implemented for care farmers. ‘People go through healthcare in seven-mile boots. Smaller care farmers will stop their business more quickly due to an accumulation of events and initiatives, for which we receive several signals. ‘
According to the department chairman, Corona, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to make tenders. ‘The bureaucracy is rising even more while the health care system is not getting better. These measures throw the child out with the bath water. ‘ The Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports hopes to be able to provide an answer to the unrest this week.