Officials of the Caribbean Netherlands Health Insurance Office ZVK met with the Executive Council and Island Council on Monday, September 9, 2019. The future merger of ZVK with the Caribbean Netherlands Youth Care and Family Guardianship JGCN, the upcoming townhall meeting on Saba and logistical matters were discussed.
ZVK Director Angel Bermudez said he had “good meetings” with the Executive Council, the Island Council, as well as the Saba Health Care Foundation (SHCF). Bermudez informed the Saba authorities about the merger of the ZVK and JGCN per January 1, 2020. ZVK and JGCN will become one department which will resort under the Ministry of Public Health, Wellbeing and Sports (VWS).
The ZVK will organize a townhall meeting on Saba in October this year. The theme will be care and youth, and there will be a question and answer section so people can ask clarity on issues that are important to them. Bermudez acknowledged that transportation of patients that need to be referred abroad for medical care was always a complex matter for Saba.
The Island Council welcomed the meeting with the ZVK delegation. In general, the logistical issues, the need for more capacity at the ZVK branch on Saba and the continued efforts to improve medical referrals abroad were discussed.
“We look forward to the implementation of the measures that the ZVK has been announcing for a while, based on our comments as an Island Council and the concerns that the people have been sharing with us,” said Councilman Vito Charles.
According to Councilman Carl Buncamper, the merger with JGCN into one department should lead to more direct lines of communication and easier access to the Ministry of VWS to address the issues that are important for Saba. “This should result in a more structural, direct approach, and that is positive for the Saba people. We will hopefully see the issues being addressed in a quicker manner,” he said. “The Island Council is in favor of minimizing bureaucracy,” said Charles and Buncamper.
Saba’s Island Council had a meeting with ZVK officials in Bonaire last week. Addressed were, among other things, the issue of communication with patients where it concerns medical referrals, the wish of many patients to stick to a familiar doctor and hospital, and the limited capacity of kidney dialysis in St. Maarten.
The meeting with the ZVK was part of a more elaborate agenda of the Island Council’s working visit to Bonaire from September 3 to 7. The Saba delegation had meetings with the local tourism office, the Tourism Cooperation Bonaire, outgoing Bonaire Island Council Registrar Willem Cecilia, the Enforcement and Supervision Department and the former manager of the TOP training program for civil servants. The delegation also visited the new Judicial Institute Caribbean Netherlands (JICN), the prison.