St. Maarten – Today, the American Clinic B.V is expected to make a presentation to the Council of Ministers on its plans for medical tourism on St. Maarten.
During the launch of its governing program, the government indicated that it was fully committed to the realization of medical tourism on St. Maarten which is expected to make the country, “the wellness center of the Caribbean.”
Critics of the initiative have indicated that more effort should be placed on developing St. Maarten lone healthcare facility, the St. Maarten Medical Centre.
Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams confirmed the meeting yesterday, adding that it is customary for the Council of Ministers to meet with third parties on Thursdays, along with its regularly scheduled Tuesday meetings.
One of the initiators of the American Clinic here that is expected to expose the island to medical tourism, Dr. Samuel Hess was featured in the American media article, as he along with other doctors contributed to the discourse on alternatives to Obama Care such as medical tourism. A Memorandum of Understanding has already been signed with the American Clinic under the previous administration. Yet there are other health professionals knocking on the island’s doors to set up shop. The island offers a therapeutic, private and on occasion, less costly environment.
A Florida-based orthopedist Hess is part of a group that’s working to open a full-service hospital here. Hess was quoted as saying that, he’s grown “tired of the legal and bureaucratic headaches of practicing medicine in the U.S. I still love what I do, but the issues I have to deal with that have nothing to do with patient care take a lot of wind out of my sails. We have to assign more and more of our staff to address insurance concerns and approvals. We order tests we don’t need to cover ourselves legally,” he said.
St. Maarten boasts natural hub assets, such as location and accessibility and this will be maximally exploited to attract regional travelers, the government says.
“These assets also make our island a preferred destination for off-shore educational and medical facilities, attracting a new type of tourism. Diversification and serving up market type tourism (medical, VIP clients, niche markets, ecological and marine tourism) may possibly be a policy recommendation for reinventing the economy as promoted by economic diplomacy in the region,” the government program stated.
Hess would also like the freedom to offer treatments that aren’t legal yet in the U.S. Medical tourism offers doctors and patients a way around the FDA’s often slow-moving approval process.
Under its project description that was presented some two years ago, the American Clinic establishes the intention to open temporary offices “to commence the treatment of island residents covered under the SZV and /or private insurance.” The clinic also is to establish relationships with the University of St. Martin and the American University of the Caribbean in Cupecoy.
Apart from its meeting with the American Clinic, the Council of Ministers will also meet today with Mavis Albertina, the coordinator of the Dutch Caribbean celebration activities for the coronation of King Willem. St. Maarten’s participating in the historical event at the end of April, will be discussed.