Hospital in court FridayPOSTED: 10/31/12 11:34 AM
St. Maarten – Attorney for the St.Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) Wim van Sambeek confirmed yesterday that the hospital would be moving to the courts again to contest the new sanctions that have been placed on it by the Inspectorate of Public Health. The hospital requested a hearing yesterday but van Sambeek said it had been deferred to Friday. Both sides will meet at the Court in First Instance, with the Public Health Inspectorate being represented by attorney Jairo Bloem.
On October 12, the Inspectorate submitted a 13 point action plan to the hospital, demanding that the SMMC comply with the requests according to the various deadlines set or face stiff fines or possible closure of the facility if SMMC is viewed as a direct threat to patient safety and quality care.
The SMMC responded to first 6 conditions imposed by the Inspectorate last Friday. However it will be moving to the courts to possibly block some the sanctions.
This will be the second time that the medical facility, run by a foundation, will be seeking legal vindication. On October 16 it lost its first court battle against the Inspectorate. On that date, the Court in First Instance declared inadmissible the request by the St. Maarten Medical Center to apply article 85 of the national ordinance on administrative law (Lar) in its conflict with the Public Health Inspectorate. This way the hospital wanted to suspend the “higher supervision” the Inspectorate first announced on September 8.
But Judge mr. René van Veen ruled that a Lar-procedure is only possible against a decree – a written decision by a governing body that contains a statutory legal action that is not of a general tenor.”
The judge dismissed the hospital’s argument that it was put under a tough administrative obligation, because the inspectorate’s letter only hints at the possibility of enforcement through fines and temporary closures.
The ruling cleared the way for the Inspectorate to proceed with a new set of sanctions, now loosely called the 13 point action plan. The Inspectorate has since replaced the term higher supervision with intense supervision.