Minister De Weever about expansion SMMC: “Well-equipped hospital not the interest of one political party”

POSTED: 02/3/14 12:16 PM

St. Maarten Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever applauds the efforts by Vromi-Minister Maurice Lake, to begin discussions with the Management of St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) on the hospital’s expansion, to ensure the timely processing of necessary permits.

“In my opinion”, Minister de Weever said, “a well-equipped hospital on St. Maarten is in the interest of not  one minister or one political party but in the interest of every St. Maarten resident and every visitor that comes to the shores of our beautiful island.”

The Minister confirmed that in light of the hospital expansion plans, the government reserved on the capital budget of 2014 an amount of 35 million guilders.

This is however dependent on the structure that will be put in place between the government and the SMMC. The structure that will be put in place must be able to withstand scrutiny in terms of complying with the standards of the Kingdom Law on Financial Supervision and for St. Maarten being able to borrow on the capital market. “We can’t have our hospital embroiled in any controversy regarding its much needed expansion.”

“As Minister of Public Health, I am responsible for general healthcare on St. Maarten and I am totally committed to see the expansion of the SMMC through in collaboration with the Minister of Finance. It is his role to make sure that the budgetary process is followed correctly. Under the responsibility of the Central Bank the issuance of a bond will have to take place to secure the financing.”

The Democratic Party has ensured that this commitment to the SMMC expansion was part of every governing agreement to which it has affixed its signature, the minister stated in a press release.

Other options of financing  the SMMC  expansion are also being explored in collaboration with the hospital’s board and management, and the board and management of the SZV,  that have a vested interest in a well functioning hospital.

With an expanded facility and the necessary specialists and human resources in place, the level of health care services being offered by SMMC will be taken to a new level. As recently as this past week discussions took place with the SMMC, the SZV and the Ministry of Public Health to further explore the participation of the SZV in making funding available for the hospital expansion. “A two-prong approach is being pursued, as it is important that all parties are involved, to ensure that if a (in)direct relationship  with government is not permissible, other options are available,” De Weever stated.

In addition to the expansion of the SMMC, also comes the discussion on the tariffs that the SMMC is allowed to charge for services rendered. This discussion and agreements are necessary for the SMMC to comply with its debtors when the expansion takes place, and keep SMMC on a healthy financial footing.

Any expansion of the SMMC without agreements between the Ministry of Public Health under whose responsibility the setting of tariffs falls and the SZV as the largest health care provider, can jeopardize the expansion plans whether these are financed through a bond issued via government or through external financing.

“In addition SMMC indicated and agreed upon in the meeting that the current expansion plan requires some updating, which the SMMC has already embarked on,” Minister de Weever said.

Minister de Weever further stated that the SMMC has already received the blessing from his ministry for the necessary license for the expansion of its facilities, designating the SMMC as a central hospital and approving the   tariffs, which include new services not previously offered, such as cardiology.

“Under my guidance and with the involvement of all stakeholders, the new tariff structure study has been completed and I look forward to getting the ball rolling on the expansion of the SMMC and thank all who have so far given their selfless contribution to making the SMMC what it is today,” De Weever concluded.

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Minister De Weever about expansion SMMC: “Well-equipped hospital not the interest of one political party” by

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