Published On: Thu, Mar 7th, 2019

Health Minister defends tariffs increase at SMMC

Council of Ministers Press Briefing 6 Mar 2019

PHILIPSBURG — The Minister of Health Emil Lee is defending the increase for procedures at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC). Minister Lee, speaking at the Council of Ministers press conference on Wednesday, March 6, 2019, said that the rates at the institution are 36 percent less than what the St. Elizabeth Hospital in Curacao is charging today.

“The adjustment is fair compensation for services that has allowed us to bring in Neurology Department in 2017, the Eye Care Department in 2018 and of this month we will have Orthopedics and a test phase for Neurology and Pulmonology,” said Lee. He pointed out that because the clients to the Medical Center is paying their fair rate, The SMMC now has the financial ability to provide additional services that are necessary in proper health care.

He indicated that the barriers to care is being dropped which means that the care that patients needed to access abroad which was more costly can be done here. He explained that besides paying for the medical procedure it means paying for air fare, accommodation abroad and their daily expenses of patients and their companion who travel with them.

When these costs are added up it costs the country much more than providing the services locally. “In reality this is an improvement not only in the quality of life but financially for the country, since the money continues to circulate in the economy” he said.