St. Maarten hospital, inspectorate meet to iron out issues


CAY HILL--St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and the Inspectorate of Public Health met on Monday afternoon to iron out issues related to the higher supervision placed on the hospital a little over two weeks ago.

The details of the meeting could not be ascertained. The Daily Herald understands that parties did not completely agree on the agenda before the meeting, but the meeting went ahead anyway and an agenda was supposed to have been made at the meeting.

The Inspectorate for Public Health had placed SMMC under higher supervision based on the findings of its governance audit thematic site inspections conducted on SMMC from the end of 2011 to the first half of 2012. The measure went into effect as of September 8, and is also based on the measures that need to be taken at SMMC with regard to quality of care and patient safety, some on short-term and others within a year.

SMMC via its attorney later rejected the higher supervision and asked for clarity on the legal basis used for this measure.
The Inspectorate had given SMMC's Board of Directors two weeks to present a feasible action plan "to address many of the critical issues found" in the report. The Inspectorate also said it would be conducting announced and unannounced inspections at least three times per month at SMMC following up on the action plan. Failure by SMMC to comply with the higher supervision may result in temporary closure of "specific functional units."

SMMC's attorney Maarten le Poole of HBN Law said last week he was confident that the deadline would not be used to implement all kinds of measures at SMMC, especially given the fact that parties were working on meeting this week.