SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The first 2021 “Government – SMMC – SZV Tripartite” meeting was held on Friday September 17. It was the first meeting that Government took part in, since it discontinued its participation in 2020. The meeting was chaired by Minister of VSA Omar Ottley, welcoming representatives of Social & Health Insurances (SZV), the Sint Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and several members of the Ministry of VSA, including the Minister of Finance Ardwell Irion and his staff.
Minister Ottley emphasized on the importance of Government’s participation in the Tripartite meetings, stating “All three entities, Government, SZV and SMMC share the overall objective of having qualitative, affordable and accessible health care for the residents and visitors of Sint Maarten. It is my intention and responsibility as Minister of VSA to ensure that all entities continue to have effective dialogue that transpires into thoughtful action, enabling us to safeguard our health care systems. These meetings allow us the opportunity to break the habit of being re-active and have collective insight in an early stage, on the issues that challenge us in achieving our health care objectives for our country.”
The Tripartite meetings allow the three entities to collectively exchange and discuss ongoing and anticipated events that impact the sustainability of health care systems on Sint Maarten. During the recent meeting, updates where shared pertaining to the legislative change proposals presently circulating the regulatory Government advisory routes, such as the Pharmaceutical Cost Containment Program, announced earlier this year by Minister Ottley. Other topics included the COVID-19 impact on local and international health care access and pending legislative change proposals to allow more persons to be SZV insured by increasing the SZV wage limits from gross NAf. 67,816.32 to NAf. 120,000 per year. During the meeting, Minister Ottley was pleased to see the progress being made with the various projects, recognizing the strong connections and added value of the Tripartite meetings as a tool to push change in the right direction.
“I’m very pleased that Government is now a part of these meetings again. In this way, we get things moving in the right direction, with better understanding, more strategic and with less delays. It’s all about being able to work better together, in the best interest of the people of Sint Maarten.”– Mr. Glen A. Carty, Director SZV
Government is reviewing options for liquidity support to ensure that SMMC is able to continue to care for our COVID-19 patients, while simultaneously trying to maintain as much as possible the regular care, both for emergencies and electives. Minister Irion commented: “Coming together as a Tripartite, not only allows us to identify problem areas or deficiencies, but helps us to reach a common goal of finding solutions. Despite our financial constraints, the Government, together with the financial support from the Netherlands, is creating possibilities to support SZV and SMMC to mitigate the negative effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. These meetings are important, and I look forward to the next one.”
The Tripartite was established in 2015, with the initial focus of developing the business case for the New General Hospital of Sint Maarten, further improving quality of care, introducing new specialisms, trainings, etc. Dr. Felix A. Holiday, Medical Director SMMC commented: “Quality hospital care on Sint Maarten, goes beyond the construction of our new hospital. There is a continuing wish for Sint Maarten to become more accessible to health care professionals in the region, introducing even more specialisms to our hospital, creating less dependency on medical care abroad. The Covid-19 Pandemic proves the necessity of this approach. This format of exchange, allows for a more effective dialogue between Government, SZV and SMMC to plan to achieve this for our patients.”
The Tripartite meetings will proceed on a quarterly basis, with the next meeting scheduled to take place in December.
Representatives of Government, SZV and SMMC during Tripartite meeting of September 17, 2021.