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Patient Care at St. Maarten Medical Center in Deplorable Conditions --- Medical Director Fleecing Foundation through his Functions.

Philipsburg:--- The Inspector General of Health Dr. Earl Best and his team at the Health and Labor Inspectorate have complied a report based on an extensive investigation conducted at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). According to the findings of the investigation, the Inspectorate indicated that had there been another Medical Institution on the Dutch side of the island then it would have been best for the Government of St. Maarten to close down the St. Maarten Medical Center until the institution could conduct repairs to the facility and equipments so that it can reach proper medical standards. "Right now, patient care is at high risk and while the SMMC is focusing on getting monies to expand, they need to focus on the quality of care they are providing to the citizens of St. Maarten," one source said.

Dr. Earl Best gave the Council of Ministers a presentation earlier this week on his findings and it is also understood that a copy of the draft report was given to the Minister of Health and to the St. Maarten Medical Center for their comments. The source said that the inspectorate has given SMMC two weeks in which to respond their findings. It is expected that the final report will be presented to the Minister of Health and Council of Ministers in the near future.

Reliable sources have informed SMN News that Dr. Earl Best made mention about the functioning of the supervisory board which is operating against its own bylaws. One such violation is the age of the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Clarence Richardson. The SMMC bylaws state that anyone who reaches 70 years of age cannot be on the supervisory board. It should be noted that Richardson should have been off the Supervisory Board of the SMMC since last year. However, Richardson is the one leading the negotiations on behalf of SMMC with SZV and APS to obtain a loan for the expansion. Because of the inadequacies, SZV has decided to question the management of the SMMC and its functions which the institution did not take lightly. Instead, they went to plead with the Council of Ministers to convince SZV to give them the monies they need to expand the much needed medical facility on St. Maarten.

Concerns were raised on the quality of patient care, the upkeep of the building and the medical equipments, and the recruitment of nurses and specialists at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). Another concern mentioned by Dr. Best is the amount of functions the Medical Director of the St. Maarten Medical Center Dr. George Scot is holding and the services his company ANG Consulting N.V. is providing to SMMC. It should be noted that Dr. George Scott is also the director of ANG Consulting N.V.

The draft strategic plan 2008- 2010 with the heading "SMMC Working Towards Friendly Health Care" was done by Siegfried Victorina, George Scot, and Izzy Gersterbluth just prior to SMMC signing Scot's contract with ANG. It should also be noted that Victorina is the adviser to Dr. George Scot as well as the Supervisory Board of the St. Maarten Medical Center, a clear conflict of interest based on the analysis of the Inspector General Dr. Earl Best.

In 2008, the Supervisory board chaired by Robert Velasquez signed a contract with ANG Consulting N.V. Dr. Scot's basic salary amounts to Naf. 252,912 as a consultant which according to the contract is equivalent to 12 months salary. Dr. Scot also later received a bonus of three month's salaries which amounts to about Naf. 70,000.

Besides these consultancy fees, Dr. Scot's schooling in the Netherlands is paid for by the St. Maarten Medical Center including all of his traveling and other expenses. "Dr. Scot travels first class to and from the Netherlands twice a month. Even though he is the Medical Director of the SMMC, he spends two weeks each month in the Netherlands claiming that he is attending school there."

The annual reports that was compiled by Price Water Coopers shows that in the year 2009 under various sub-headings "other" SMMC declared Naf 429,072. For example, Medical training "other" Naf. 246,583, Faculty Expenses "other" Naf. 289,738. Further it is recorded in the annual accounts that the training of personnel decreased by Naf 132,450 in 2009 compared to 2008.

Based on annual accounts of 2008, the SMMC declared Naf. 941.731 as other expenses which are unexplained expenses. In 2009, they declared under the same heading Naf. 999.140 which is also unexplained and in 2010 Naf. 929.476, all of which are unacceptable for any foundation as well as the creditors such as government and SZV.

Based on the 2009 annual reports, the SMMC declared over one million guilders under the heading other expenses, while the managers' fees for 2009 was Naf.310, 633. The 2010 annual reports showed that managers' fees increased to Naf. 403,593. While the remuneration fees increased from Naf. 444,897 to Naf. 510,842.

Further breakdown of the annual accounts showed that in 2008 the management fee was Naf. 174,806, in 2009 it increased to Naf. 310.633 and by 2010 the same fee increased to Naf. 403.593. In 2008, training of personnel had a price tag of Naf. 207,107 while in 2009 it decreased to Naf 74,625.

The remuneration for the supervisory council and board of directors in 2008 was Naf 434,616, in 2009 Naf. 444,807 and in 2010 it increased to Naf. 510.842.

It is clear based on the figures provided to SMN News and the information SMN News obtained on the draft report that the Government of St. Maarten needs to take urgent action if health care is one of their main priorities on St. Maarten.

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