Published On: Wed, Apr 25th, 2018

Healthcare agreement with French side gets fresh impulse

Minister Emil Lee - Photo by Roland BrysonPHILIPSBURG – “The difficulties in getting a simple memorandum of understanding executed about cooperation between the hospitals on the Dutch and the French side of the island “highlights some of the challenges of cooperation between the two countries,” Minister Emil Lee (Public Health) said at Wednesday’s Council of Ministers press briefing.

The minister met with representatives of the ARS – Agence Régional de Santé – and its regional director for St. Barths, Saint Martin and Guadeloupe Valérie Denux to discuss the agreement.

“It was a positive meeting with an assurance from the new director to take the results of our meeting back to Paris to see how we can get this agreement done,” Lee said.

The minister pointed out that he has been working on the agreement for some time. “We believe that a structured cooperation between the Dutch and the French side in providing healthcare to our citizens is just logical. We looked n our meeting at the specialties we are developing to make sure that they are complementary and not competitive. For more sophisticated specialties you need a larger population to make them financially feasible.”

If the Dutch side were to develop a cardiology department the French side should put less emphasis on it and develop alternate specialties, the minister said. “Like this we can share resources and we will have to send fewer people abroad.”

Lee said that there was already an agreement signed between the two hospitals, SZV and ARS and himself. “The feeling was: this is a simple agreement without hard consequences and without any dollar-commitment. It was simply an agreement to cooperate. But with politics, these documents were sent to Paris and never seen again.”

That deadlock was the focus of the recent discussions with Valérie Denux. “Post-Irma the need for cooperation between the two sides is even more clear,” Lee said.

Minister Lee Healthcare French side delegation

Photo caption: L to R: Mr. Jim Rosen (Chief of Cabinet), Chantale Groeneveldt (Excutive Assistant of Minister Lee), Minister Lee, Mrs. Denux (Regional General Director), Dr. Pierrot Pascal, Mr. Godefroy Pascal (Local Director ARS), Lucina Jean Claude (Adjunct Director ARS), Ms. Paige Lilian ( Head medical coordination company).