Published On: Tue, Mar 5th, 2019

Hospital-director Klarenbeek explains tariff increase

Minister VSA Emil Lee with SMMC Management & Board in Parliament 4 Mar 2019

PHILIPSBURG – The new general hospital is a non-profit organization that aims to realize just 1.5 percent profit on top of costs to enable future investments, St. Maarten Medical Center director Kees Klarenbeek told parliament in a meeting on Monday afternoon.

Klarenbeek also highlighted the need to increase the hospital tariffs by a seemingly astonishing 41.83 percent. He showed that medical costs have outpaced inflation over the past three years. In 2017 costs went up 8.2 percent while inflation was 2.8 percent. In 2018 medical care became 8.2 percent more expensive against an inflation rate of 3.1 percent. For this year, the projected increase is 7.8 percent while inflation will remain at 2.8 percent.

Klarenbeek said that the majority of the tariffs SMMC uses were established in 2004 at 70 percent of the tariffs used by the St. Elisabeth Hospital (Sehos) in Curacao. Prices for new procedures introduced after 10-10-10 are identical to those at Sehos.

In 2004, SMMC charged 959.90 guilders for the amputation of a lower leg, while Sehos charged 1,750 guilders. In 2018, with the new tariffs in place, the cost at SMMC went up to 1,350.50, but the prices at Sehos also went up to 2,121.16 guilders. The charge at the SMMC is the same for public and privately insured patients; tourists pay a higher price: 2,450 guilders.

Klarenbeek said that SMMC managed to keep tariff increases for residents at the level of general inflation through a series of cost cutting measures. Specialists are on the SMMC-payroll, their salaries have been fixed during the 2013-2018 period and medical costs have been reduced by one million guilders.

An aggressive purchasing plan reduced medical supplies and preventive maintenance costs were also brought under control. The hospital furthermore reduced the costs for housing and cars for visiting specialists and the costs for external consultancy services. Insurance premiums were also brought down.


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