Inspector-General Sirving Keli issues formal instruction to Curaçao Medical Center

June 26, 2023  –WILLEMSTAD – The Inspectorate for Public Health has taken action against Curaçao Medical Center (CMC) by issuing a formal instruction, as it believes that CMC is not doing enough to reduce waiting lists through patient referrals to Advent Hospital. 

Under the new directive, patients classified as ASA-1 and ASA-2 who are eligible for surgery at Advent Hospital must be actively and proactively referred with immediate effect, instead of being placed on the CMC waiting list. The aim is to prevent further escalation of the waiting list and ensure that patients receive timely and necessary care. 

The intervention by the Inspectorate took place earlier this month on June 2nd. It was expected that patients waiting for over six weeks would be referred to Advent Hospital. However, as of the beginning of this week, only six patients had been referred. Inspector-General Keli concludes that CMC has not made any referrals, highlighting the absence of an active referral policy and even noting a lack of willingness. 

CMC has repeatedly cited impracticality as the reason for not implementing the referral process. However, the Inspector-General remains unconvinced by these arguments, emphasizing the importance of patient care as mandated by the National Ordinance on Healthcare Institutions. 

The primary cause of the waiting list issue lies in a shortage of supporting operating room (OR) personnel rather than a lack of operating medical specialists. Consequently, the waiting lists for elective surgeries, outpatient appointments, and radiological examinations at CMC continue to grow. 

According to information obtained from the Minister of Health, only four out of seven operating rooms are currently in use. A “Dashboard” overview reveals that the waiting list has increased from over 1,600 in October 2021 to 2,417 at present. 

Even with the addition of new OR personnel, it will take time for them to undergo training after their arrival. As a result, the Inspectorate anticipates that waiting lists will continue to rise in the near future. Therefore, certain patients who agree to the transfer will be referred to Advent Hospital. 

To intensify the pressure, the Inspectorate has instructed CMC to promptly modify its policies, making referrals an integral part of daily operations. This means that patients who have been on the waiting list for more than three months must be actively approached for referral. 

Effective from Monday, June 26, CMC is also required to adjust its waiting list reporting criteria to six weeks instead of three months, as previously practiced when submitting reports to the Inspectorate. Additionally, starting next week, weekly reports must include the number of patients approached and referred for transfer. 

This instruction will remain in effect until the end of 2023 and/or until the waiting lists for ASA-1 and ASA-2 patients requiring elective procedures are reduced to six weeks. Furthermore, improvements in accessibility and support for inquiries regarding possible transfers are necessary to assist patients promptly and adequately. 

CMC and Advent Hospital have already established digital connectivity in the field of radiology, eliminating any obstacles in transmitting results. The Inspectorate has also notified the medical specialists’ association and the general practitioners’ association about this intervention. 

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