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St. Maarten minister looks into better patient experience abroad


PHILIPSBURG–Public Health Minister Cornelius de Weever is currently working with the COOMEVA Medical Group from Colombia and Social and Health Insurance SZV to make the patient experience abroad a less tedious one.

De Weever recently met with the COOMEVA group, during which a number of issues were discussed. The main topic was providing a Health Charter Flights Programme.

Currently patients referred by SZV to travel to Colombia for medical care make use of the commercial flights, which at times can become an uncomfortable experience for patients, due to flight availability, delays and cost.

Unwanted delays usually happen with patients who must travel immediately for medical treatment, and once the treatment in Colombia has ended, delays caused by unavailability of flights generate extra cost in accommodation, transportation and other expenses the patient incurs.

De Weever said he will be working diligently with SZV and COOMEVA on the logistics of this programme, with the aim of making the patient experience as pleasant as possible.

“As a Minister, I am here to serve the people of St. Maarten and to ensure that all their medical priorities are taken care of in a professional and attentive manner. I believe that this programme will be a great help to all medical referrals to Colombia,” he said.

Once all the logistics will be worked out for the inbound and outbound charter flight programme, the process for the patient will become faster and smoother. The proposed programme will have a significant impact on the medical referral procedure in terms of better quality, timeliness, logistics and cost.

The programme will provide an opportunity for patients who seek immediate medical treatment, especially for those people with complex medical conditions who must be transferred to Colombia promptly.

All flights will be executed with an exclusive charter flight with a capacity for 18 people from St. Maarten directly to Colombia. A professional nurse will be on all inbound/outbound flights. “We will also collaborate with Saba and St. Eustatius to ensure we have a full flight each time,” he said.

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