Governor asks vice speaker to recall CHCC bill

GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres has asked Vice Speaker Janet Maratita to recall her House Bill 20-149 which proposes to abolish the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.

In a letter to Maratita on Tuesday, the governor said CHCC board members should be given “enough time and opportunity to exercise their authority to fulfill the administration’s goals of improving health outcomes and accountability….”

At the same, Torres thanked Maratita for her “admirable desire to see progress in improving healthcare throughout our islands.”

He said he is also pleased with the CHCC’s board’s composition and its current direction.

“As you are aware,” he told Maratita, “after nearly 10 years following the creation of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., Public Law 19-78 instituted a board of trustees with the important mandate to govern, manage, and control the corporation in line with the language provided by the law…. In accordance with the mandates of Public law 19-78, the board is currently in the process of instituting an assessment of the performance and management of the corporation. I have great faith in CHCC’s board to undertake a thorough and diligent review of the management of the hospital and will act upon their decisions in a manner that will safeguard the day-to-day operations of the corporation.”

The governor said he is “humbly requesting that House Bill 20-149 be recalled from any further action on the floor for the time being and that the board be given the time and opportunity to exercise their authority to fulfill our shared goal of improving health outcomes and accountability within this most critical institution.”

In a phone interview on Thursday, Maratita said she will recall the bill which had been referred to two House committees.

Maratita, Rep. Alice Igitol and the Legislature’s fiscal analyst Dave Demapan met with CHCC CEO Esther Muna and her team on Thursday at the Commonwealth Health Center.

The vice speaker said the meeting was “fruitful and meaningful.”

Maratita said she and the CHCC CEO have reached an understanding — they will work together and help each other in promoting quality healthcare services for the people of the commonwealth.

She said the introduction of House Bill 20-149 “brought us all together to work for a common goal, and that is to assist our lone hospital to provide quality healthcare services to our commonwealth.”

Her bill, she added, “served as a wake-up call for everybody, and I am glad that we are able to iron out everything.”

Maratita said the CHCC CEO “promised to work with us and provide us with documents which we have been requesting. I am happy with the meeting — it was very positive.”

Muna, for her part, said: “We are extremely grateful to the vice speaker and Rep. Alice Igitol for taking time out of their busy schedules to come and meet with me, the [CHCC] chief financial officer, and our hospital and financial management team. We were able to clarify some misunderstandings and respond to their concerns. It was obvious to all of us at the table that we all have the same passion and desire to improve our hospital and health system. We all want to do our best and to have the best for our people. We are looking forward to continuous communication with the vice speaker and her colleagues. CHCC has done a great deal of work to improve existing systems after it became a public corporation. It was very uplifting to hear that she does not and will not dismiss all the work and progress that our staff and management have made over the years.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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