Council of Ministers agree to consider lawsuit against Vamed

Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee


PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Council of Ministers agreed to request legal advisors to explore the possibility of filing a

lawsuit against Vamed to stop them from halting the development of the new General Hospital.

Based on the urgent needs of the country to develop our healthcare system and build a much needed hospital that complies with international standards, legal advisors will advise Council of Ministers if there is a proper basis for legal actions against Vamed.

The case of Vamed hampers the development of our healthcare system. A new hospital has a direct and substantial impact on the costs and therefor the sustainability of our healthcare system as well as an obvious impact on quality of care and therefore the health of our population.

Government should not allow our healthcare developments to be held hostage due to a court case by a foreign multinational for financial gain. “The more we investigate the prices regionally the more convinced I am that the price of INSO is not too low and that their price is competitive and reasonable,” said Minister Lee.

The country, the people and staff of SMMC need and deserve a new hospital. Minister Lee stated, “I do recognize and appreciate that the staff, management and specialists have been and continue to operate in challenging conditions. All three of my children were born in SMMC. I am even a former chairman of the board of SMMC. I do have special affinity for SMMC and I want the staff of SMMC to know that you have my full commitment and relentless effort to see a new hospital is built as soon as possible.”

Yesterday, Minister Lee had a meeting with the representatives of SMMC. Together they agreed that the hospital will begin the process of working towards Joint Commission International (JCI) accreditation. This accreditation is an international standard that many of the top hospitals internationally comply with.

There is collaborative work being done on the referral programs with SZV in attempts to narrow down where referrals are sent. By bulking together our purchasers I believe that it is possible to negotiate better prices. This is something we are working on together with Aruba and Curaçao, and our preference is to work with other hospitals that are also JCI accredited. This creates the possibility of cooperation with the staff, which really does give us a good basis for working together and even rotation of staff.

So, together with the hospital we have agreed that this is the direction that we want to work towards. Although the process of building a new hospital may be delayed, progress on improving our healthcare system continues.