Cay Hill: --- Medical Director of the St. Maarten Medical Center Dr. George Scot has given the FZOG-SVB pension fund up to Monday July 6th to settle their outstanding bill. Failure to comply with this date would force the hospital to begin refusing Medicare to pensioners. In a press release Dr. Scot said that if the FZOG-SVB does not settle its arrears then the medical institution would be forced to only accept these cards for emergency cases. Dr. Scot said the FZOG-SVB has an outstanding debt which amounts to Nafl 1,355,634.17 since August 2008. During the month of June 2009 and they have sent at least four emails to FZOG-SVB reminding them of their agreement which was to pay off Nafl 600,000 before the end of this June 2009.
Dr. Scot said on June 16 the St. Maarten Medical Center informed the FZOG that the
Guarantee cards for that fund will not be accepted until the promised outstanding payments have been settled.
He said after repeated petitions to settle the outstanding bills the SMMC is now forced to take measures since the SMMC did not receive any response from FZOG-SVB.
Dr. Scot said the hospital does not want to put senior citizens in any unnecessary hardships since they are not directly responsible for the operations of FZOG-SVB. As such the hospital is urging the FZOG-SVB to take their responsibility seriously and solve the ongoing issue before July 6th. Dr. Scot said the institution is forced to take actions and he hopes that they would not be blamed as they are forced to use force to safeguard the quality of health care provided by the institution.
The information in the newspaper he said does not change the standpoint of the SMMC, because it does not reflect anything about how it will deal with the current outstanding to healthcare providers. Furthermore a copy of the draft-legislation for integration was submitted to the SMMC last year already with promises that it will change very soon.
Scot said for some years now the SMMC and other healthcare providers have been confronted with non-payments from the FZOG-SVB fund. Patients who fall under that FZOG-SVB fund are retired civil servants, who paid mandatory premiums in that fund during their active working lives and should now be able to benefit from that. The SMMC provided the service to the FZOG-SVB card holders without any interruption for the past years. However collecting from the FZOG-SVB is a time consuming and recurring exercise without any improvement from their side.
The Medical Director further explained that in their last meeting with the director of the FZOG-SVB fund on June 12th, he promised a partial payment of Nafl 600,000 before the end of this June.
The total outstanding amount has accumulated to Nafl 1,355,634.17 since August 2008. The SMMC is being put in a very difficult position since the FZOG-SVB is not paying the outstanding debts. The hospital he said are being forced by the mentioned fund to take measures to guarantee payments for care delivered and secure the cost of operations of the hospital. If the FZOG-SVB is not paying the 1.3 million guilders, the operations will run into difficulties. As a consequence the staff cannot be upgraded, we cannot afford the necessary new equipment and ultimately the deterioration of our service will be inevitable. By not paying for the care already delivered the FZOG-SVB is endangering the healthcare of senior citizens, but also jeopardizing running of the hospital and healthcare system as a whole.
The St. Maarten Medical Center is aware of its position as the only hospital on Dutch St Maarten and therefore they are extra motivated and committed to improve their services and offer the best quality of care to our patients.
A press release from the Director of the institution states that they are striving for their patients and staff to be satisfied in a safe and healthy care environment. We also strive to offer accessible, affordable and consistent hospital care to the community.
In order to do so the institution needs to invest in people, equipment and the building.
All of us are potential patients and to a certain extent, and should be able to demand the best service and the best quality of hospital care that can be offered on the island. However the SMMC can not do that on its own. Dr. Scot said to be able to meet their patients need they cannot do it on their own and as such they need the input and commitment of all stakeholders, in order to be able to invest in the areas that matter.
On a daily basis SMMC are confronted with patients, who seek hospital care without any insurance and no means to be able to pay for the care provided. The SMMC, will always provide that care to the uninsured as long as it is urgent or critical care that can not wait. After that treatment they will seek the financial compensation for it, which in most cases is futile.