Muna: CHCC board supports my decisions

COMMONWEALTH Healthcare Corp. Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said the CHCC board of trustees has supported all her decisions as far as Kagman Community Health Center is concerned.

In an interview, Muna said they have changed the locks on the KCHC building because she wants to secure the equipment and property owned by the federal government.

Esther Muna

But she reiterated that she did not close down the center, and the decision to close it came from KCHC medical director Dr. Katherine Elstun.

In a phone interview, CHCC board member Leticia Reyes expressed her disappointment in connection with the closure of the center.

“I am not really happy about what is happening at KCHC. We agreed to have a meeting, board to board, with KCHC,” she said, adding that they want to help  KCHC transition into an independent clinic.

“My concern is the service that the people are now being deprived of,” Reyes said.

For its part, the Kagman Community Health Center announced that its clinic will be temporarily located in the Santa Soledad Parish social hall.

According to KCHC board chair Velma Palacios, limited services will be performed at the temporary site.

 “We will provide further updates to the community on how to contact the clinic as we progress in the coming weeks,” she said in a statement.

“The entire staff and the board of directors wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to Father Jesse Reyes for making the Sta. Soledad social hall available on such short notice. This kind act is allowing KCHC to continue to assist patients during this period with follow-up visits, lab-result consultations, referrals, prescription refills and more,” she added.

The clinic can be reached at 783-7102.

The KCHC and CHCC boards agreed to hold a closed-door meeting on Tuesday evening to “negotiate future transition activities.”

Palacios said the KCHC board will present to CHCC a proposed memorandum of understanding or MOU.

KCHC is seeking collaborative work in the areas of immunization, STD/HIV prevention, TB and Hansen’s control, child development, family planning, non-communicable diseases, women-infant-children care, public health emergency response, hospital and emergency services, and behavioral health.

“The MOU is strictly collaborative.  KCHC will not request any monetary or direct staffing support from CHCC,” Palacios said.

She added that they will also ask the CHCC board to allow KCHC to remain at its original location.

At the same time, “we want to thank the community for their continuing support and outpouring of words of encouragement. In particular, the center is honored to receive over 1,000 signatures in support of the petition to keep the Kagman Community Health Center open at the original location on Lemmai Way in Kagman II. This petition will be submitted to the House Health Committee and to Governor Torres this week,” Palacios added.


In a statement on Tuesday, the Torres administration expressed disappointment with the closure of the Kagman center.

Press Secretary Kevin Bautista said the administration “is disappointed in the recent course of events that led to the closure of the Kagman Community Health Center. We share in the frustration that the village of Kagman and members of the Legislature have already expressed. Let’s be clear. Differences aside, the shutdown of vital healthcare services is a detriment to our community at large. Accountability is to be shared by all the parties involved, and we hope to resolve this issue together collectively and constructively.”

The Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation, for its part, will conduct an oversight meeting with CHCC CEO Esther Muna, CHCC board members, KCHC CEO Vincent T. Castro and KCHC board members on Friday morning to discuss the issues surrounding the closure of the Kagman facility.

The delegation’s Committee on Health and Welfare chairwoman, House Vice Speaker Janet Maratita, said the meeting will start at 9 a.m. in the House chamber.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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