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CHCC to pull out assets from KCHC

THE Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. is not obligated to transfer assets it purchased for the Kagman Community Health Center which will become a private non-profit entity starting on May 1, CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna told Variety.

She said CHCC is already communicating with the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration or HRSA and other authorities regarding KCHC funds it received from the granting agency.

In her conversation with HRSA officials, Muna said the grant agency confirmed approving two grants — the one it awarded five years ago in which CHCC and KCHC were co-applicants, and the other for an application in which KCHC claimed to be independent of CHCC.

Esther MunaEsther Muna

“HRSA specified in grant number H80CS28324 that CHCC is not obligated to transfer assets purchased for KCHC — the new applicant, a private non-profit,” Muna said.

She added, “The grant will expire on April 30 and CHCC’s responsibility is with the grant awarded five years ago and one of those responsibilities is to ensure that federal regulations are followed on the disposal of the fixed assets.”

CHCC, through its chief financial officer Derek Sasamoto, the newly appointed KCHC executive director, has started the liquidation process, including a budget readjustment, Muna said.

She added that the assets — including medical equipment, computers and anything that were purchased under the grant — cannot be transferred to KCHC. “It specifically says it cannot be transferred to a new entity. Our obligation is to close it out.  I’m sure, the Kagman board is working on starting their project too.  We wish them nothing but the best in their operations.”

 Muna said CHCC is within its authority to terminate KCHC executive director Vince Castro.

“Any grantee knows that while federal rules state relationships and authority, the grantee and its employees must operate within the rules of the overarching entity.  That entity is CHCC.”

She said Kagman board chair Velma Palacios was correct in her statement that the board has to approve the new executive director’s appointment.

“But she needs to understand that Mr. Castro is no longer an option as he is no longer an employee.  We can bicker about who they want to replace him with, but the Kagman board has a duty to be sensible as the closing of the grant is approaching within only a few weeks,” Muna said.

She noted that the Kagman board gave the executive director the title of CEO even though it may create confusion within the organization —CHCC is headed by a CEO which is a title established by law, she added.

In a separate interview, Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres on Friday expressed support for KCHC’s decision to be independent from CHCC.

“This is the decision by the Kagman board,” he said, adding that it should be lauded for getting a competitive grant.

“It means additional healthcare services. I told them to use the money wisely,” the governor said.  “At the end of the day, are they providing healthcare? If yes, then we should support it.”

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/103532-chcc-to-pull-out-assets-from-kchc

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