Lawmakers working with CHCC to address CW issue

REPRESENTATIVE Angel Demapan said he and other lawmakers are working closely with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to address its workforce issues.

Angel Demapan

Eighteen of CHCC’s nurses are affected by the CW cap and will have to leave the island.

“It’s hard to deal with that because, ultimately, the decision rests with the federal government,” said Demapan, vice chairman of the House Federal and Foreign Affairs Committee.

“The House has to continue engaging our federal counterparts and the governor’s office to see what kind of federal assistance we can get to address this issue. We understand that there are laws and policies in place, but when they are to the detriment of our people then we need to find ways to make adjustments. This is not about special interests or about private development — what we are facing here is healthcare and the lives of our people,” Demapan said in an interview.

He reiterated his earlier statement that the 240-day extension for CW petitions was not a permanent solution.

“We need a permanent solution and the very first incident to test the extension was the nurses. I was disappointed to learn that these nurses were not able to use the 240-day extension because [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services] has to accept your petition and your payment. The checks have not been cashed so how can we expect these workers to avail themselves of the 240-day if USCIS is not moving with the receipts or cashing the checks. For me, it’s almost as if the program doesn’t exist, and it was a disappointing experience to test the 240-day provision for critical workers like our nurses. This only goes to show that the 240-day extension was never a solution to begin with.”

Demapan said the CHCC is now facing a serious predicament.

“The hospital will be forced to temporarily hire private nurses from the U.S. However, it’s going to be more costly. CHCC is working on increasing its revenue generation, now they have their backs against the wall as they have to spend more money to deal with this situation.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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