The Ambulance Department was in the news this week as the first of three ordered ambulances was commissioned. The new emergency vehicles are no doubt needed, although some might question whether the existing ones are all already unusable.
However, it needs to be kept in mind that ambulances are usually driven at high speed and consequently undergo a lot of wear and tear. The driver obviously can’t be that concerned about the vehicle when responding to a potential life-and-death situation.
The purchase of seven hydraulic stretchers is clearly welcome especially for the personnel who no longer will have to lift them manually with sometimes heavy patients and suffer physical consequences. As is the case with the new vehicles, proper usage, servicing and maintenance of this modern equipment is crucial to make it last as long as possible, while training for employees also is of great importance in that sense.
The collection of ambulance fees via St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) seems to be working well, producing almost three times as much in revenues compared to last year based on 2016 projections. Not only that; a planned digitalisation of the administration should improve this aspect even further.
However, Health Minister Emil Lee also mentioned that the local tariffs are rather low and made a comparison with those Curaçao, said to be more than three times higher. He argued that this shows a need to adjust the rates, but a word of caution is in order.
Between this, the construction of a new hospital and plans for a general health insurance, great care must be taken to keep the cost of medical treatment on the island in check. Otherwise, the insurers, including SZV, may ultimately have to increase their premiums at the expense of the population.
Source: Daily Herald
Keep cost in check