PHILIPSBURG – Last week Minister Emil Lee initiated a stepped up level of cooperation between the Dutch and French sides of the island with regard to health care.
“As St. Maarten continues with its plans for the development of a new hospital, determining the level of cooperation between the Dutch and French sides is a critical element of our development strategy,” Minister Lee stated.
“Our hope is that instead of two independent hospitals, struggling to provide quality care in a sustainable manner, that we synchronize our strategies.”
A formal cooperation agreement has existed since 2014, and is known as the Observatory St. Maarten/St. Martin. As a result of this cooperation both sides of the island have been supplemented with substantial funding from the European Union (EU) in the creation of an ongoing study of the health of the people.
VSA, in agreement with Dr. Louis Jeffrey and Arnaud Benet, is currently moving forward on new agreements that will further enhance health care on St. Maarten/St. Martin. Key to this will be using the total populations of both sides to make a solid economic basis for a higher level of local health care.
Areas for immediate review include; the sharing of specialists to expand the range of treatments available on the island, training of hospital staff to synchronize levels of health care, the possibility to make services and space available to French residents in the planned expanded general hospital, and the development of complimentary non-competing services.
Head of the Department of Public Health Fenna Arnell is representing VSA along with active cooperation from Director of the St. Martin Medical Center (SMMC) Kees Klarenbeek, and the SZV team to negotiate favorable tariffs for residents to access care through a national health insurance.
“I have committed myself to seeing the relationship strengthen and grow to the benefit of all,” concluded Minister Lee.
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