Published On: Sat, Jun 20th, 2020

Complaints continue but SZV denies there is something wrong with its glucose testers

Clifton Wilson & Raymond Jessurun - 20200326 SMAPP-SMCC

PHILIPSBURG – On April 2, the Consumers Coalition’s spokesman Drs. Raymond Jessurun exposed the problems diabetic senior citizens were encountering with faulty glucose testers Social and Health Insurances SZV forces them to use. So far, the outcry and numerous calls from seniors like Clifton Wilson have done nothing to correct the situation. SZV denies that there is something wrong with its testers.

Jessurun said in April that the faulty testers (Perfect 3) are supplied to SZV together with the strips necessary for testing by Medicosmetics, a company based in Cole Bay with Jan H.R. Beaujon of Curacao as the managing director. Based on data provided by panjiva.com, Medicosmetics imports at least part of its products from China and Malaysia.

According to Jessurun, SZV-insured patients were no longer allowed to get their diabetic materials (like the strips) from pharmacies of their choice; instead, they had to get their supplies from Medicosmetics.

The Medicosmetics-tester Perfect 3 is cheaper than the one patients were used to (Freestyle Precision) but, according to Jessurun in April, the new tester is not only faulty it is also “not durable.”

Clifton Wilson at CIBC FirstCaribbean seminarClifton Wilson went to a lab for testing with the two testers. The Free Precision reading was 120 and the lab test result was 122, while the Perfect 3 gave a much higher reading: 153.

Another diabetic patient, Veronica Leonard, had the same experience on May 24, when her Freestyle read 81 and the Perfect 3 read 191. “If that reading was correct, I would have been in hospital, in a coma or dead,” Leonard wrote in an email to Wilson.

The price of the Freestyle tester was $20.02, and a pack of 50 strips came at $34.70 in January. But Clifton Wilson notes in emails to SZV that the price for the strips since had gone up, first to $45, and later even to $56 – prices that are not affordable for quite some senior citizens – and SZV refuses to pay for them.

Asked about the situation in April, SZV issued the following statement: “SZV acknowledges that there are some incoming complaints regarding the service and accessibility of the contracted provider, Medicosmetics. These complaints are not going unheard by SZV and we continue to address these in a productive manner together with the provider. Together we have been able to adjust some procedures to improve the customer experience; however, this is an ongoing process that our teams are working on. The customer complaints have our attention and our objective is to improve the customer experience. We thank our customers for their patience thus far and hope to be able to alleviate some concerns within short.”

While this sounded like a gesture of goodwill, Wilson was about to find out that saying something and actually doing something are two different things. On May 24, he wrote to SZV’s Vanincia Walters about the “merry-go-round” saying that he did not see attempts to even temporarily solve the issue.

SZV Offices - sleep

That was the highlight of his answer to Walters’ email of the same day that acknowledged that SZV’s management was aware of his plight. However: “Due to pending administrative and managerial decisions an official decision cannot be provided at this time.” Walters added that she hoped there would be a solution by May 22.

But by June 16, Wilson was still stuck with the problem that has, in the meantime, moved for investigation to the office of the Ombudsman where it is currently pending. Wilson says he did receive an email from SZV in which it declined to accept responsibility for the situation.

StMaartenNews.com approached SZV for its current take on the faulty-tester-saga and the plight of diabetic senior citizens.

This was the statement we received: “SZV reiterates that the provided Perfect3 glucose meters were not found to be faulty. Based on the incoming complaints, laboratory testing of glucose meter was conducted. The test results showed that the Perfect3 glucose meters meet the acceptance criteria of International standards (= International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA)), set for glucose meters. However, it was realized that the switch of glucose meters was not properly introduced to the SZV insured diabetic persons.

SZV has requested the Medical Aid Supplier to order and bring in a new proposed glucose meter, which has individually packaged strips. This will lessen the possibility of human errors and environmental effects. The pilot study concluded that these are some of the reasons that could cause discrepant readings.

The way forward is that a new pilot study will be conducted to determine the quality of this new glucose meter, before it is introduced to SZV insured diabetic persons. This will be done in collaboration with the general practitioners, the medical specialists and the laboratory. The pilot study will take place within the coming months and when the results of the new pilot study is known, SZV insured diabetic persons and healthcare providers will be informed accordingly.”

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Related news:
Senior diabetics complain about SZV and Medicosmetics

[Publisher’s Note: An earlier version identified Medicosmetics director Beaujon as the former director of the Windward Islands Bank. This was incorrect. The director is Jan H.R. Beaujon from Curacao. The former WIB-director is Jan Jacob Beaujon of St. Maarten. We apologize for the mix-up.]