22 Jan 2018
- By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
VICE Speaker Janet U. Maratita said she has introduced a bill that will abolish the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and re-create a Department of Public Health under the governor’s office.
House Bill 20-149, she added, “is not against the CHCC [chief executive officer] and has nothing to do with politics, but is in the best interests of the community and the entire CNMI.”
Maratita said it has been her passion to improve hospital services since she took office in Jan. 2016.
“It has nothing to do with the governor’s concerns regarding CHCC. I know the timing is bad, but I have been planning to introduce this bill since Jan. 2016, but I had to do a lot of research first and get feedback from the community.”
She said her initial plan is to introduce a bill that will separate the Division of Public Health from CHCC.
“I asked former public health officials and administrators and got their thoughts on this idea. They all advised me not to separate the two — instead, they suggested reverting both to the central government as an executive department.”
Once her bill becomes law, she said, the governor will appoint a Public Health secretary, director and administrator to run the hospital — no more board members.
“The intent of Public Law 16-51 [which abolished the Department of Public Health and created CHCC] was to make the hospital an income-generating entity so it could become a self-sufficient healthcare corporation. But since its inception it has not generated revenue and we still receive a lot of comments and criticism about it. So I guess we should just put it back under the supervision of the central government so that the executive branch will have the responsibility to fund the hospital according to its needs to ensure that health services are not disrupted.”
She added, “This is about what is right and what is best for the public and the community.”
In FY 2011, the then-Department of Public Health received a budget of $37 million. In FY 2012, with the creation of CHCC, it received a local subsidy of $4.7 million and has, since then, been dependent on federal funds.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/101668-bill-to-abolish-chcc-re-create-public-health-department