Letter to the Editor: Open letter to Mr. Knops


Welcome Dutch caretaker State Secretary to Statia where you are likely to open a roundabout that communicates with about ten lonely vehicles per hour per day. Never have we seen on Statia such magnificent progress from you and your local civil servants and what a great investment for Dutch and local taxpayers’ money?

Whereas your ceremony this week – in the round – will be populated by a nepotistic circus of agreeable senior civil servants, please do not fall sick.

Mister Knops, if you do, let me describe what roundabouts sick Statians have to go round for medical treatment from your hopeless health insurance organization (ZVK).

For many years, ZVK has wasted millions of Antillean Guilders, US Dollars, Colombian Pesos, and therefore Euros through the false economy on travel costs, delayed medical treatment, and administrative inertia.

It seems your ZVK knows a lot more than you do when it comes to telling lies. But not saving lives.

Forget roundabouts and let me quote an example of administrative ZVK failure only last week from a patient who has waited a painful nine months for a hip replacement.

ZVK informed the patient that a hip operation was possible in Curacao even though the hospital concerned was not conducting such operations due to the Covid pandemic. They, therefore, refused medical referral to the Netherlands. Let’s quote from a recent article in the Bone & Joint Journal: “It is not benign to delay or deny patients arthroplasty surgery patients live with pain and disability that is more severe than many other chronic health conditions.”

ZVK in Bonaire informed the patient that they do not want to talk to them but they should talk to the Statia doctor. The only solution was to have the operation in the Netherlands. ZVK then said that the patient should organize it all themselves – which they did. The patient was told to pay all costs upfront and be reimbursed later. But confirmation that the entire medical costs would be reimbursed in full, only arrived at the very last moment so that the hospital operation and flights to Schiphol had to be canceled. The patient never received anything on paper.

At one point, a Bonaire ZVK official refused to discuss the situation on the phone. Imagine that from a health insurance organization? The result is that the patient is now taking expensive and addictive pain-relieving pills per day that cost more than a hip operation in the long run. False economy? You bet Mister Knops.

Dear Mister Knops, it is time to reorganize. Many ZVK complaints have been logged and nothing happens. In 2018, The Dutch Government took over local government on Statia in the belief that corruption and abuse diluted the principles of good and efficient governance. How ZVK operates does not seem the epitome of efficiency or care about patients, to say the least. Or: now that you have made your rare hospital bed, it is time to lie in it.

Please reorganize the ZVK or your reputation or both. We do not need local roundabouts but a central government turn-around. We need a ZVK that cares about individual healthcare not saving money. Privatize or revalitize!

Your ZVK is about saving money not caring for customers that have to go around thousands of useless roundabouts very much like the one you are opening this week.

Since your role already serves as a source of fortune, I wish you fortitude and clarity to do the right thing.

Please do not fall sick! You may be a caretaker Minister but your ZVK falls very short of caretaking.

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