Hospitals on islands agree to join forces

The min­isters and state secre­tary of public health of the four countries in the kingdom during a ministerial consulta­tion last week Friday, expressed unanimous support for the agree­ments that were made at the healthcare sum­mit in St. Maarten early December with regard to the establishing of the Dutch Caribbean Hospi­tal Alliance (DCHA). This means that the es­tablishing of this collab­orative effort planned for early 2022 can go ahead. Already in Feb­ruary 2021, then Public Health Ministers Dangui Oduber of Aruba, Zita Jesus-Leito of Curacao, Richard Panneflek of St. Maarten and Dutch State Secretary Paul Blokhuis approved and signed the basic docu­ment to establish a coop­erative of the hospitals of Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.

Healthcare summit attendees outside St Maarten Medical Center.

From December 8 to 10, a conference was held in St. Maarten, under the guidance of the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport VWS. Present were representatives of the Ministries of Public Health of Aruba, Cura­cao, St. Maarten and the Netherlands, as well as healthcare insurance or­ganisations and the hospitals/medical centres of the six islands.

Several unsolved issues with regard to the es­tablishing of the DCHA alliance that needed to be discussed and further clarified at the summit in St. Maarten. A number of adaptations to several documents were made and conclusions were drawn in a few areas. The alliance involves cooperation areas like essential specialist insured basic hospital care, regular structural coordinating consulta­tions, sustainable financ­ing, personnel and edu­cation, governance of the cooperative DCHA, joint purchasing, and medical referrals.

These items were in­cluded in the final docu­ment at the summit. This document was subse­quently approved by the ministers and state sec­retary of the four coun­tries last Friday. The intention is to formally establish the DCHA on January 17, 2022. It took some time to prepare for this as the first agree­ment was made in Feb­ruary 2021.

The hospitals involved, Curacao Medical Center (CMC), Horacio Oduber Hospital (HOH) in Aru­ba, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and Mariadal Foundation in Bonaire, will also pres­ent the conclusions of the summit to their su­pervisory boards. Also present at the summit were Saba Cares and St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation (SEHCF). Curacao and Aruba will have to draft internal cooperation agreements with the other health­care providing institute. For Curacao, it concerns the Advent Hospital and for Aruba the San Nico­las Medical Institute IM-SAN. All care institutes that were present at the summit in St. Maarten will simultaneously enter the cooperative, with the exception of Saba and St. Eustatius.

The DCHA will, in cooperative form, give content to the joint goal to reduce vulnerabil­ity and dependence, but above all, to be able to guarantee the continu­ity of medical specialist care in the future, and to increase the quality and availability of medi­cal specialist care there, where possible.

The DCHA mission is: “To deliver the best pos­sible medical care locally and regionally through a secured collaboration of the countries within the kingdom and the stra­tegic partners, whereby the well-being of our pa­tients, the maintaining of a financial-economic healthy situation and the safeguarding of our cul­tural values come first.”

The Daily Herald.

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