Wescot-Williams (DP): “First get the hospital on a good footing”POSTED: 01/19/16 7:45 PM
St. Maarten – “It is important to know where we stand. Before we start about a new hospital, the St. Maarten Medical Center must be on a good footing,” DP-leader Sarah Wescot-Williams said at a press briefing yesterday afternoon. “The first concern is to create some breathing space for the SMMC and that is something they don’t have right now.”
To create that ‘good footing’ for the hospital, the tariffs must be adjusted. Currently, the SMMC performs services for which it is compensated by social insurance agency SZV below cost price. The more services the hospital renders, the faster its deficits increase.
Wescot-Williams does not know whether SZV is able to absorb higher tariffs or that a measure to increase the tariffs will lead to higher premiums for SZV-insured citizens.
This appears from the numbers Public Health Minister Emil Lee presented to parliament last week. In 2012, the hospital recorded an operational loss of 2.8 million, but in 2015 the losses skyrocketed to more than 10 million guilders.
“It is critical to establish what St. Maarten’s needs are in the field of public health,” Wescot-Williams said.
The DP-leader scoffed at the motion opposition-MP Cornelius de Weever tabled last Friday, saying this was the same motion he tabled during the budget debate in January 2015. The motion resolves to grant the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor the provisional approval to begin with the implementation of an article of the draft ordinance that regulates cost cutting and management of social security and care. This article allows access to medical coverage for the elderly, sole-proprietors, vendors and bus and taxi drivers and their families.
The motion failed over objections that parliament had not approved the ordinance yet.
“It is unthinkable to give an instruction to the minister of public health to implement part of an ordinance that has not reached parliament yet,” Wescot-Williams said yesterday, adding that she had asked the minister to present a clear chronology about the ordinance. “A year ago it was in its final stages and it is still there today.”