Governor disappointed with CHCC

GOVERNOR Ralph D.L.G. Torres has approved the over $6 million funding bill for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., but expressed disappointment with CHCC’s decision to prioritize the renovation of the hospital’s outpatient pharmacy instead of purchasing new pharmacy hoods for its existing inpatient pharmacy.

The governor on Wednesday signed House Local Bill 20-49 whose funding source is the Saipan casino license fee.

The measure, which is now Saipan Local Law 20-19, was introduced by Reps. Angel Demapan, Frank Aguon, BJ Attao, Donald Barcinas, Ivan Blanco, Joseph Deleon Guerrero, Lorenzo Deleon Guerrero, Alice Igitol, Jose Itibus, Greg Sablan Jr., John Paul Sablan, Vice Speaker Janet Maratita and House Minority Leader Edmund Villagomez.

The new law appropriates $2.9 million for the turbo-charger retrofitting of CUC’s four engines and wastewater pretreatment system; and $3.37 million for CHCC equipment upgrades and maintenance of an adequate healthcare workforce.

In addition, the new law allots $150,000 for the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority and $460,000 for the Saipan mayor’s office which will use it to purchase a pay loader, a 2,000-gallon tanker, a roller/compactor and pay outstanding road maintenance equipment rental charges.

In his transmittal letter to the Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, the governor said:

“While I have signed this into law in the best interests of our patients and the staff at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., I am disappointed in the CEO’s decision to prioritize $200,000 for the renovation of the hospital’s new outpatient pharmacy, instead of purchasing new pharmacy hoods for its existing inpatient pharmacy.

“The $200,000 appropriation outlined in this bill for pharmacy hoods and the renovation of the clean room provide for the preparation of personalized medication through compounded drugs, chemotherapy drugs, and IV solutions, which are critically important to the treatment of our patients and are needed to comply with standards set by the U.S. Pharmacopeia Convention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. This being said, I question why $200,000 was not used to address this critical priority first, but was used to fund the renovation of the new outpatient pharmacy when an existing pharmacy already exists and is in need of additional equipment to meet the expectations and requirements of our patients.

“I advise CHCC to prudently determine and manage its financial priorities for the benefit of our patients and the vitality of our island’s only hospital. I remain open as always to discuss ways to achieve this purpose in coordination with the Legislature.”

In a separate statement, the governor added:

“I am disappointed in the CEO’s decision because there is confusion about what the financial priorities of CHCC are. If CHCC is in need of vital equipment to better serve our patients and community, then that should have been taken care of first, rather than to prioritize the renovation of an outpatient pharmacy when an existing pharmacy is still there within the hospital to provide outpatient services. I will continue to ensure that essential healthcare services will be adequately funded for the hospital this year, but I will not tolerate the current management’s lack of financial priorities.”

Variety was unable to get a comment from CHCC.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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