Schippers agrees with alternative saving measures proposed for healthcare in Caribbean Netherlands

Minister Edith Schippers (VWS) agrees with an alternative proposal from the Dutch Caribbean to realize some necessary savings on healthcare costs. Previously proposed measures will be postponed till January 1st 2015, under the condition that the alternatives generate the projected saving of 1 million euro for every half year. Schippers today sent this information in letters to the local governments of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.


In these letters to the government – of which the Senate and the Parliament (Eerste en Tweede Kamer) are also informed – Schippers indicates how she would like to move forward in structuring and forming the public healthcare in the Dutch Caribbean. Since the transition of 10-10-2010 the minister of VWS is responsible for the public healthcare in the Dutch Caribbean. According to an evaluation attached to the letters, the quality and accessibility of the public healthcare on the three islands has improved remarkably ever since. These improvements are the result of substantial contributions (financial and otherwise) from the Netherlands. To bring the increasingly growing healthcare costs in the Caribbean Netherlands to a halt, Schippers announced measures in December 2012. One of those measures was remove some entitlements – which from the beginning were intended as temporary – from the insured package, such as payments for one time dental treatment for adults and physiotherapy for adults.

Hereupon the involved professional groups on the islands came up with a proposal to realize the same savings. The minister appreciates the effort of the groups of professional and adopts their proposal. Under the same financial conditions she gives 1 year postponement up till January 2015. This term should be enough to complete the remaining of the remediation and regulate the supply of physiotherapy, including revalidation, appropriately. The Caribbean Netherlands stated that the savings can be achieved by establishing production limits for dentist and physiotherapist by means of strict agreements. These agreements are thus applicable as of 2013.

Furthermore Schippers institutes a workgroup (consisting of local governments, health care suppliers, the Chief of the Healthcare Office BES – Zorgverzekeringskantoor BES – and a representative of the VWS), who under guidance of an independent president will develop a plan concerning how the public healthcare on the islands should further develop themselves on the long term – and this within tight budgetary frameworks. This plan will be presented to the minister as a recommendation and will be the basis for a potential agreement between the minister of VWS and the local governments.

As is the case in the Netherlands, in the Caribbean Netherlands measures have to be taken as well to stay within the financial agreements. Schippers does not see any reason to make an exception for the islands. The budget of the healthcare costs in the Caribbean Netherlands was overrun for 30 percent (20 million euro) in 2012. With these interventions a part of this will be recovered.