St. Maarten Hospital director Dr. Scot: “There is a completely different agenda at stake” – Health inspectorate lies in medical center press release

POSTED: 11/16/12 6:28 PM

St. Maarten /By Hilbert Haar – Inspector General dr. Earl Best lied in the press release he issued on Wednesday evening about a “severe conflict of interest within the board of directors” of the St. Maarten Medical Center. Best demands in the press release that hospital director Dr. George Scot resigns AnG Consulting NV before November 28.

In the five page press release, Best charges that AnG Consulting is not registered at the Chamber of Commerce and that no business license was issued for this company.

George Scot – accompanied by his father, dentist dr. George Scot sr. – provided proof to this newspaper that AnG Consultancy has been registered at the Chamber of Commerce since May 26, 2008, under number 017190. Scot sr. is outraged about the inspectorate’s campaign against his son, who also provided proof that his company has a crib number and is therefore registered at the tax office. Such a registration is not possible without a business license and a director’s license. Inspector Best however, claims in his press release that “no business license was issued to a company with the corporate name AnG Consulting NV.”

Until 2008 Scot worked as the hospital director on a regular labor contract. When the structure changed, he set up AnG Consultancy. “We even went to court to check whether this construction was above board,” Scot says.

The court found no fault with the setup and ever since AnG Consultancy has had a contract with the hospital to provide management services. Scot is therefore no longer an employee, but he is detached at the board of directors by his company.

“Dr. Scot is wearing two different hats; one as the director of SMMC and the other one as the CEO of the “independent” service provider AnG Consulting,” Best wrote in his press release.

Scot told this newspaper yesterday: “There must be six thousand similar constructions in St. Maarten.”

The hospital director is frustrated with the never-ending attacks by the inspectorate on the medical center and on his position. Best charges in the press release that the construction is “clearly a violation of the law” and that there is a conflict of interest.

Scot: “I wrote a letter in October to Minister de Weever inviting him to let Soab (the government accountant bureau –ed.) do an investigation to see if there is proof for a conflict of interest, if any dubious payments have been made to my company by the hospital. There are none. You know what he told me, but did not put in writing? There is no budget to do that. So I am offering an independent review and it is turned down.”

What bothers Scot is that the inspectorate apparently obtained a copy of the service contract between AnG Consulting and the hospital. “Where did they get this information?” he wonders. “The contract between the hospital and my company is private business.”

Best also illustrated the press release with graphics showing Scot’s “absenteeism” which makes it look like the director is away from his job an awful lot.

The hospital director says that in 2008 he spent one week per month in the Netherland to work on a cooperation agreement with the Slotervaart hospital in Amsterdam. In later years he spent time in the Netherlands for study purposes. “I did a master class in health at the Erasmus University,” he says. “This year I was going to do an MBA in health in the Netherlands; that would take three to four days per month. The plan was approved by our supervisory council, but with all the stuff that is going on right now we have decided not to do it.”

Scot is particularly peeved about the graphics Best included in the press release. “If he has time for this, why doesn’t he finish the Olivacce-report? He does not want to do that because then he would have to come out and acknowledge that we did nothing wrong in that case.”

Another misunderstanding, Scot says, is that the inspectorate mixes up the SMMC’s supervisory council and the board of directors. “They talk about the supervisory board of directors and create the impression that I am supervising myself. That is not the case.”

Scot says that his contract contains an option that gives him a bonus once a year. He shows a letter from the supervisory council, signed by then chairman Clarence Richardson that approves such a bonus.

Scot says that the parliamentary committee for public health, chaired by MP Leroy de Weever first demanded to see his contract with the medical center. “They threatened the president of the supervisory council – at the time Clarence Richardson – that they would go to the public prosecutor if they did not get it. When the supervisory board did not release the documents, the minister demanded it. Then the inspectorate started to send letters about a possible conflict of interest. And that inspectorate is supposed to be independent.”

Interestingly, Inspector general Best wrote in a letter dated November 2 that “a number of irregularities have been established” with regard to the management contract between AnG Consulting and SMMC. But in a letter dated six days later, Best requests copies of this same contract. This has made Scot wonder about the content of the November 2 letter – a moment when best apparently did not have this contract yet.

Scot says that the report Best produced about the situation at the hospital is “full of nonsense.” The report categorizes the problems are claims to have found in four categories, where by category 1 contained the most serious shortcomings. “They found nothing for that category,” Scot says. “But they do want us to hire 12 specialists within the next three months. Those people cost $400,000 a piece per year, and we’re not talking about equipment and support staff they need. When I pointed out that we have nowhere to place those specialists – let alone pay them –  the inspectorate said that that is not their problem.”

Another remarkable demand by the inspectorate is that the board of directors has to consist of two directors: a financial and a medical officer. Scot: “The statutes say that the board of directors can consist of one or two directors. So it is okay to have just one director, as it is now.”

Nowhere in the inspectorate’s report does it say that patient care is endangered. “No hospital is perfect,” Scot says. ”But when we read in the report about something that we don’t have, then point out that we actually do have it, the reaction is: that’s not good.”

Scot is frustrated with the way the inspectorate handles the situation. “The inspectorate could say to me: you don’t spend enough time on the hospital. Fine, show that. But the fact is that I can always be reached. It is clear to me that there is a completely different agenda at stake than the improvement of healthcare. The hospital has to go down so that a facility for medical tourism becomes more palatable. If you want to improve healthcare, you make an effort to find a solution, but that is not happening.”

Like this newspaper, Scot also noted the timing of the inspectorate’s press release. “Right now (on Thursday – ed.) we don’t know what the court is going to say in its ruling, but this press release came out before the ruling. Afterwards the inspectorate is not able to make such statements anymore.”

Scot says that he will not resign from the board of directors. The supervisory board will not terminate the contract with AnG Consulting either. “That will become another court case,” he says.

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St. Maarten Hospital director Dr. Scot: “There is a completely different agenda at stake” - Health inspectorate lies in medical center press release by

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