PHILIPSBURG:— The Tripartite, consisting of the Ministry of VSA, Social & Health Insurances (SZV) and the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) hosted a meeting with the Committee for Financial Supervision (CFT) on Thursday, February 8th to discuss the progress being made on the build and operations of the New General Hospital. The presentations and tour took place at SMMC and highlighted the need for improved healthcare on St. Maarten, the scope of quality care to be provided in the new general hospital. The progress of healthcare reform, including addressing the cost of prescription drugs, streamlining the referral process and cooperation with French St. Martin and quality control of medical professionals was also part of the presentation. The comments of CFT were positive, stating that the presentation was ‘impressive’.
The completion of the new general hospital, as to when it would be operational, is projected to be within three (3) years. CFT representatives were given a full circle presentation of the progress of the plans, the phased approach of the execution which addresses improving the quality of care on several levels. The need for the new hospital is evident as all stakeholders agree that the quality of care in the country should be improved and needs a combination of mechanisms and structures in place to do so. The CFT was briefed on the project plan schedule, which includes funding, training of staff, JCI accreditation, medical tourism, and collaborations with international specialists through exchanges and telemedicine.
“When we speak of the new general hospital there is often focus on the building. The plans for the new facility include plans for new services, accreditation of quality, new equipment which we do not have now, updated equipment of which we are in need of, facilities to welcome new and needed specialists, training of the current staff, more rooms for patients and the list goes on. We are not moving the old into the new. The new general hospital will be one of the key mechanisms towards improving quality care on St. Maarten. The meeting with CFT was very positive, we will continue to update the CFT and provide additional information in support of the conversations with the World Bank.” – Minister Emil Lee (VSA)
The Tripartite formation was initiated in March 2015 by the SZV. The Tripartite’s goal was to come to a collaborate and sustainable approach to improving health care on St. Maarten. For the Ministry of VSA, it was important that the process and execution of the project was done in systematic and transparent manner, this way ensuring that the project is sustainable and that checks and balances could be monitored. Close to 70% of the insured population of St. Maarten is insured via SZV and there is an annual rise in medical referrals abroad which are processed not only by SZV but also private medical insurance companies. Having a new general hospital capable of serving the population based on its needs would significantly reduce the costs of referrals abroad for SZV. These costs rank up to millions of guilders each year as travel, lodging and daily allowances are also included.
“For many years we at SZV have been juggling the task of travel agents and mediators, sending our customers abroad for medical care. Yes, it does not always go as planned. A hurricane passes, an airline cancels, a specialist is fully booked, the challenges are pages long for our customers and us at SZV. By advocating for the new general hospital we are creating the opportunity for our customers to be at ‘home’ when they are ill instead of travelling while ill to a foreign country, sometimes alone and with language barriers. Care close to home is what we want for our customers.” – Glen A. Carty, Director of SZV
Source: St. Martin News Network http://www.smn-news.com/st-maarten-st-martin-news/28385-tripartite-host-progress-meeting-with-cft-on-new-general-hospital.html