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Parliamentarian Heyliger wants NAf. 35M in budget for St. Maarten Medical Center


~ Calls for SZV, SMMC to discuss tariff ~

PHILIPSBURG–United People’s (UP) party leader/Member of Parliament (MP) Theo Heyliger wants NAf. 35 million placed under the capital investments in the 2014 budget to assist St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).

A similar amount was set aside in the 2013 budget for the purchase of Emilio Wilson Estate, but the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT has informed government that it will not give permission for any government bond based on that budget, according to the MP.

Looking ahead to next year’s budget, which should come to Parliament for approval in the coming weeks, he has written to Finance Minister Martin Hassink requesting the investment in SMMC be taken up in the draft budget.

“I herewith request you to look at reallocating part of the capital investment budget to include a bond of NAf. 35 million for the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC),” Heyliger stated in a letter to Hassink this week. He told the minister to take all measures to ensure the expansion and the survivability of SMMC, which in turn would guarantee the health care of the country’s people.

SMMC recently was placed as part of the collective sector of government, “so this makes my request even easier,” Heyliger said.

It is “imperative” that the Social and Health Insurance Fund SZV and SMMC sit and discuss the tariff structure. “SZV is sending many patients abroad for health care. It reminds me of the days when there was the SVB giving special recognition to the hospital in Curaçao and then paying the SMMC a different tariff. Let us not regress.”

Heyliger stated, “For a nation to move forward we as a government must guarantee that our people are able to get the best health care available at home and that the service and equipment in health care be second to none. It is time for government to step to the plate and accommodate SMMC with its expansion and upgrading plans.”

He added, “I am hearing the cries of our people are far too often about the general state and availability of proper health care and treatment.”

Physicians are leaving SMMC due to the lack of adequate facilities to best cater to patients’ needs, Heyliger said. “In the short and long term, it is the people of St. Maarten in general who suffer. It is our children who also feel the effects when all is not in place medically to care for them, the future and most valuable resource of our young nation.”

SZV is spending “an enormous amount of monies” to send patients abroad. “An investment into our own medical institution will ensure that our people stay at home for treatment surrounded by the family and that the monies stay here in our economy.”

Heyliger stated in his letter: “Investors and our people are nervous of the state of our medical centre. We need to make investments now and it is up to government to make the first and most important step. The spinoff of such an investment in SMMC will enhance investor confidence across the board and our people will benefit in many ways. Future investments can bring more business to the hospital, thus increasing jobs.”

He applauded the staff, nurses and doctors who work every day under the current conditions at SMMC.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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