Since 2010 there have been serious issues and complaints concerning the operation of the Health Insurance office, ZJCN (previous ZVK) in Bonaire. In May 2022, ZJCN, SMMC, SEHCF and Saba Cares joined forces during the seminar “Medical Referrals” on St. Eustatius to improve communications among the participants. Read their conclusions HERE.
The Sabans did not notice improvements. On Thursday, October 27Mr. Levenstone invited the general public of Saba to come out in large numbers on Thursday, to participate in a peaceful demonstration to show the displeasure in how Sabans are being treated and dealt with by the ZJCN Office on Bonaire. “It is time that we as a people show that “Enough is Enough” and that “Our Lives Matter.”
This triggered the Saba’s Executive Council to also become more active. The same day, it decided to take its concerns about the longstanding problems with the medical referral system to a higher level and has asked the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sport (VWS) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Kingdom Relations (BZK) for an independent investigation of the functioning of Care and Youth Caribbean Netherlands ZJCN.
In a letter to the Ministry of VWS, the Executive Council explained that it has reached out many
times to ZJCN, written “countless” letters, and requested direct, in-person meetings to discuss the
concerns and complaints of Saba patients who must travel abroad to obtain further medical care.
The meetings with ZJCN that were granted were always cordial in nature with the promise of some
change and attention for matters that affect Saban patients, but the status quo persisted. ZJCN had agreed to monthly meetings with stakeholders on Saba, including the local government, to track improvements on the many issues that plague the island’s healthcare system. “ These meetings, have never taken place, once again underscoring how the actions/inactions of ZJCN remain problematic for Saba,” the Executive Council stated.
“While the Executive Council will not discredit some recent improvements, particularly the referrals
pilot, allowing local doctors to refer patients to St. Maarten for care and treatment, the recurring
complaints of stagnation in the referral process, denials of medically necessary treatment abroad, etc.,
cannot be ignored by the local government, and representatives of the Saban population must now
be taken to a higher level with a louder voice,” it was stated in the letter.
The Executive Council is therefore requesting to have an independent investigation carried out into
the performance of ZJCN, focusing primarily on the objectivity, ability, and willingness of ZJCN
management to make improvements to the referral system which have been needed for years.
“After the most recent incidents on Saba involving patients needing to travel abroad, it can only be
surmised that the referral system has not improved to a level that is, at its least, satisfactory. The
Executive Council is therefore no longer confident that management of ZJCN wants to or is capable
of making the necessary improvements that will directly impact Saban patients.”
The Executive Council said its letter was a “resounding call for action” to be taken by the Ministries
of VWS and BZK and to play an integral role in what is needed for actual change to take place.
Response from The Hague
In an apparent attempt to quell the growing dissatisfaction with the functioning of the Department of Care and Youth Caribbean Netherlands (ZJCN), the responsible Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport has set up an independent Complaints Advisory Committee.
It is striking that complainants are not allowed to turn to the committee themselves. It is the director of ZJCN (whose actions are seen by many as part of the problem) who decides whether a complaint is submitted to the Complaints Advisory Committee.
ZJCN itself speaks of an “important addition” to the existing complaints procedure. ZJCN also says that “it is important that complaints from residents about ZJCN are handled in a careful manner.” In his publication in the formal Staatscourant, State Secretary Blokhuis writes: ” The Directorate of Care and Youth Caribbean Netherlands of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is responsible for the policy, organization and implementation of care on the BES islands. Residents of the Caribbean Netherlands therefore frequently have to deal with the Executive Board. Complaints from residents about the behaviour of the management must be handled in a careful manner.”
How does ZJCN intend to work with the Complaints Advisory Committee?
ZJCN can call upon the complaints advisory committee if it receives a complaint. The director of ZJCN will determine when the committee is asked to provide advice about a complaint. Therefore, the complaining party does not get to choose whether or not its complaint will be examined by the complaints advisory committee.
State Secretary Van Ooijen has today appointed the members of the committee: Chairman F. Goedgedrag (former governor of the Netherlands Antilles), deputy chairman D.C. Kramp, members A. McKenzie-Tatem, P. Perigault Monte and M. Molenaar.
To be continued …….
Completely disliking all those not understandable abbreviations, I ask myself again: ZJCN, where does it stand for?