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    Providing civil-law advice to patients is not the NZa’s job

    The Dutch Healthcare Authority (NZa) recently imposed a fine on an orthodontist. The NZa wanted to publish the decision to impose a fine on its website along with a news story. According to the court, however, the Government Information (Public Access) Act stood in the way of simply publishing the fining decision and news story. Care providers would be wise to be critical if the NZa wants to disclose information about them.

    The NZa found that the orthodontist had acted in violation of the Health Care (Market Regulation) Act, which is what prompted the NZa’s decision to fine the orthodontist. The NZa also decided to publish the fining decision. In addition to this, the NZa wanted to post a news story on its website advising patients to use the decision in proceedings against the orthodontist.

    The orthodontist feared that his reputation would be seriously damaged by this and therefore asked the court for an injunction against publication.

    The court found that both the fining decision and the news story needed to be amended before publication. The height of the fine and the substantiation given were not allowed to be published, since there was a chance that this fine would be reduced upon objection. The text urging patients to use the fine in proceedings was also scrapped from the news story. The NZa’s job does not extend to facilitating patients in civil claims, said the court. 

    You can find the full judgment here.