Government signs letter of intent for new private medical facility

POSTED: 02/2/12 12:33 PM

St. Maarten – Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Cornelius de Weever confirmed Wednesday that a letter of intent has been signed with “The American Clinic” for them to open and operate a private medical facility. A second request by another group for a similar letter of intent is now pending.
The revelations were made during the question and answer period at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing. During that segment the minister also said he does not believe that the opening of these facilities will affect the existing tertiary medical institution (hospital) – St. Maarten Medical Center.
“I see no direct effect on the St. Maarten Medical Center. We have discussed things like joint training so I think it’s more of a complimentary match than competition. There are a couple of organizations/companies that are looking for our support. Understand that my year plan and in the Foundation of Hope as well we have addressed medical tourism. We do support it and any letters of intent that have been requested will be given,” de Weever said.
The minister also revealed on Wednesday that he does not believe that the St. Maarten medical Center needs any support from the government in terms of a letter of guarantee in order to expand.
“I think they are strong enough financially in order to do so, but know that government supports the expansion and will do whatever we can to assist. I have never received any requests in writing for any letter of intent. Know that government has been facilitating the St. Maarten Medical Centre with the Central Bank in order to float a bond. So we have been working with them. We are supporting the expansion,” de Weever said.
Later he’d add, “We decided that they’d float their own bond and arranged for certain organizations to finance the project. 30 million guilders and the SZV and APS were considering financing the project. Government also said they would be willing to finance a balance of 2 or 3 million guilders.”

De Weever also used Wednesday’s press briefing to announce that he’s asked the Inspectorate of Public Health to investigate reports that the St. Maarten Medical Center is housing male and female patients in the same room. He’s also already discussed the matter with the hospital’s general director Dr. George Scot and plans to raise it again when he meets the hospital’s board.

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