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First Dutch health impact bond launched to prevent accidental falls

Published: 20 December 2022

BNP Paribas, Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, Rabobank and Oneplanetcrowd back health impact bond to fund a fall prevention programme for the elderly launched last week

Last year, over 5000 people died in the Netherlands due to accidental falls | Photo by Toa55 on iStock

Last year, 5,400 people died in an accidental falls in the Netherlands, almost double the number ten years ago, according to Statistics Netherlands. A fall prevention programme, funded by the country’s first health impact bond, is trying to reverse that trend.  

The ‘Stevig Staan’ (standing strong) programme is the result of a unique collaboration between health insurers, care organisations, municipalities and private investors. 

The programme, worth €2,8 million, is funded by a health impact bond, the first in the Netherlands, which combines crowdfunding from Oneplanetcrowd with social investment from BNP Paribas Social Impact Bonds Fund, Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, and Rabobank.

The programme will screen 7,000 elderly people for fall risk and mobility over a period of five years in seven cities in the northern part of the Dutch province of Limburg. This region has a higher-than-average ageing population, with 40% of the over-70s suffering a fall at least once a year. That’s three times more than the average in the Netherlands.  

“In the coming years we will be measuring the number of falls among the elderly, and if they are successful, municipalities and health insurers will be saving themselves considerable costs,” Ruben Koekoek, founder of Social Finance NL, which was involved as an intermediary in the project, said in a press release.  

“With this money, the participating municipalities, the VGZ care office and health insurers Coöperatie VGZ and CZ will repay the investors,” said Koekoek. 

Social Finance NL, a social enterprise which helps governments, non-profit organisations and financiers to measure, finance and increase social impact, said it had structured the bond with assistance from the BNP Paribas Social Impact Bonds Fund. The bond will be managed by BNP Paribas Asset Management, on behalf of the European Investment Fund and BNP Paribas. 

Some 100,000 elderly people need emergency care after a fall, which is costing Dutch taxpayers an estimated €1.2 billion a year, according to the website of Social Finance NL. Still, fall prevention is not prioritsed in the Dutch healthcare system, with health insurers paying for most of the costs of an accidental fall, while prevention is the domain of local municipalities.   

The success of the health impact bond will be directly correlated to the success of the fall prevention programme.  

The bond may provide investors with a return on investment of 27.4% over a period of six years, provided falls are reduced by 43% during the same period, according to the Oneplanetcrowd website.  

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