Ministry VSA, Inspector General and SZV agree to review medical referral process

Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee

PHILIPSBURG – “As mentioned after my visit to Colombia where I visited several hospitals and met with COOMEVA, it became very clear that the entire functioning of the medical referral process including before patients are referred to SZV and after they return from abroad must be optimized. While in general there have been many positive reports on quality of service, there have also been various complaints from clients that have been referred abroad for diagnostic test and treatment,” stated Health Minister Emil Lee.

In order to establish a baseline and an improvement plan where needed, the Inspectorate for health care has been requested to review the referral process of SZV and prepare a report in collaboration with SZV. This will result in an action plan to improve the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of the entire medical referral process.

Ultimately, all stakeholders share the goal of providing high quality affordable healthcare, The Ministry of VSA and SZV are committed to working together to improve the whole referral process for patients that are sent abroad for medical treatment.

SZV Director Glen Carty commented, “Based on principles of openness and transparency, SZV welcomes the constructive feedback from Dr. Best, the Inspector General of VSA on where SZV’s referral process can be improved. SZV has already embarked on customer service improvement plan 3.0, but recognize that there are still areas for improvement.”

While SZV has already made substantial efforts to improve customer service and quality of care, all parties agree that there is substantial room for improvement in the referral process. The Inspectorate will review the procedures of SZV when sending patients abroad. While the review process will begin with SZV, the entire process chain including family physicians and medical specialists will be included in the review process.

“In the same spirit of cooperation and collaboration, I’m also looking at ways to collaborate with Aruba and Curaçao in medical referrals as much can be gained by joint procurement of care, in the selection of hospitals, the preparation of protocols and guidelines for referrals and the evaluation of referrals,” mentioned Minister Lee.