Oranjestad- The business case studying the feasibility of setting up a dialysis unit at the St. Eustatius Health Care Foundation, shows that the establishment of this unit would lead to a total saving of about 1.75 million dollars over a period of 10 year. The report also concludes that, apart from the savings, the establishment of a dialysis unit on the island would also greatly improve the quality of life for the patients in question.
The study was commissioned by ZVK and executed by Proconsulting, after a letter sent by Khanya Houtman to then-minister of Public Health Edith Schipper. Houtman wrote to Schippers about the ordeal of dialysis patients on the island. Schippers, after receiving Houtman’s report, stated that her Ministry was “willing to look into the establishment of facilities for the treatment of kidney patients on the island”.
“Based on the cost-benefit analysis, it can be concluded that the investment in hemodialysis on St. Eustatius is financially justified because the benefits far outweigh the investment costs”, according to the report by Proconsulting.
According to the consultants, a large part of the savings would be achieved because transportation and daily allowance for the patients in question would no longer be needed. These costs alone amount to $ 76,016 per patient per year and represent 45% of the total annual costs for hemodialysis treatment. According to Proconsulting, the net savings in transport and reimbursement costs of hemodialysis patients compared to a nephrologist and dialysis nurse amounts to $ 197,838 per year.
Investment could be earned back in just 1 year
The costs for transport and reimbursement of the patients are so high that it is expected that the investment in a unit on-island, will already be earned back after 1 year. “In addition, the total costs for performing a hemodialysis treatment at SEHCF are estimated to be lower than the rate at SMMC. This results in an estimated $ 177,000 savings over a 10-year period”, according to the business case.
“The non-monetary effects are also in favor of setting up hemodialysis at SEHCF. The journey and waiting times for the patients are significantly less which, will have a positive effect on the quality of life and the well-being of the patient”, according to the consultants.
The consultants however do advise to take the time in establishing the unit. If it is decided to invest (in this unit, editor), then it is advisable to take enough time for the preparation and realization of the project. Conditions for the safe performance of hemodialysis at the SEHCF include setting up a suitable area for dialysis, storage space for the rinsing fluid and the water treatment installation, training general practitioners, training / recruiting dialysis nurses, developing maintenance plan, technical support plan, emergency plan, protocols and work instructions”, according to the business case.
State Secretary Paul Blokhuis of Health, Welfare and Sports in a letter to Dutch Parliament stated to be in favor of the setting up of a dialysis facility in St. Eustatius, but also wrote that he felt a merger between the hospital and the auxiliary home and the setting up of a new governance structure were ‘preconditions’ for the establishment of the new dialysis unit on the island.