PAS not accepting SZV cards at any pharmacy

PAS not accepting SZV cards at any pharmacy

~ To meet VSA Minister, SZV Tuesday ~

PHILIPSBURG--Pharmacy Association of St. Maarten (PAS) has announced to Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley and management of Social and Health Insurances SZV that members of the association are no longer accepting SZV-issued cards as of Wednesday, April 28.

  On Friday, April 23, in a letter sent to both parties, President of PAS Franklin Chang Sing Pang said that members of the association have repeatedly asked, both verbally and in writing, for outstanding payments for civil servants funds OZR and retired government workers funds FZOG.

  According to the letter, despite efforts to reach out regarding payments, emails and requests were left unanswered, and promises made by SZV to pay advances were not upheld.

  PAS said in taking the COVID-19 pandemic into consideration, its members took a stance of patience with SZV in regard to delayed payments. “We have been in this situation numerous times and have built in the last week on SZV’s goodwill to pay out, and have held off until this very last day with SZV to eventually pay out … but to no avail.” The letter further stated that PAS members have reached a breaking point in which pharmacies can no longer hold off their creditors during the pandemic.

  “We regret to have applied this pandemic measure, but at this point we see no other solution about how to fix our damaged financial liquidity, and keep the vital part of the logistics of pharmaceuticals alive, which is the availability of sufficient medicines for the St. Maarten community,” said the letter.

  The exact extent of funds owed has not been disclosed.

  This is not the first time the association has spoken out against a lack of payment from SZV. In December 2020, PAS released a statement saying that members had not received payment for medications dispensed in August, September or October for persons who fell under the OZR fund.

  PAS noted at the time that “sooner or later” members would have “no other option than to suspend OZR coverage for civil servants and resort to payment in cash for medication dispensed.”

  The Daily Herald reached out to the minister for comment. Ottley confirmed receipt of the letter and stated that an immediate response was sent to PAS inviting all parties to sit, find the root of the problem and come to a solution. He said that as he has been in office for only some days before receiving the letter it did come as surprise, however, he was open to addressing the matter right away even offering to meet on Tuesday, despite it being a public holiday.

  Director of SZV Glen Carty also confirmed to the newspaper receipt of the letter from the association and further expressed his disappointment in the manner in which the matter transpired. He shared his understanding for the position of the PAS members, the challenges they are facing and that of all other medical providers.

  Carty said the pandemic has created many challenges for not only the providers, but also for the insurance company itself. He further stated that SZV has been cooperative through it all.

  The newspaper understands that PAS has agreed to the open invitation to meet with the minister and management of SZV on Tuesday.

  The newspaper also reached out to the president of PAS for comment, but he declined to do so.

The Daily Herald

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