Pay hike for CHCC nurses

COMMONWEALTH Healthcare Corp. nurses, including those on Tinian and Rota, will see bigger paychecks starting this month, CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said.

“This is in response to our plan to address the issue with the CWs and the staff shortage,” she said in an interview.

She said they had discussed the issue with the nurses for the past two to three months so they could come up with an acceptable pay scale. “We want to make sure that they are part of the decision. This is not our decision alone. We want to make sure that this is their decision too.”

CHCC human resources director Clarinda Ngirausui said they follow the government pay scale: Steps 1 to 12. “The increase will put the [nurses] near the middle, Step 5.”

She said under Step 5, a staff nurse 2 will earn $44,000 a year. The current salary for the position is $34,000 a year.

In a memorandum issued over the weekend, Muna said: “The [CHCC] administration is diligently working in increasing our rates to fund this anticipated salary increase. The director of nursing and human resources will finalize the performance rating policy in the coming weeks, as well as revamping the entire performance rating form, therefore all increases after Oct. 1, will result in performance-based increases.”

Muna said they have asked the Legislature for funding support, but “unfortunately, the [government] budget that was signed does not support it.”

She said they decided to go ahead with the pay increase because they are focusing on recruitment and retention of nurses.

“CW is not the best option. We have to build our local capacity too. We have seen our nurses, once they get experience, they leave. It is a problem for us. I’m a firm believer in building local capacity, and this is one way to do it.”

She believes a salary increase will help them recruit and retain nurses.

In the past, Muna said, they worked with the college’s nursing program. “But when they graduated, sometimes they didn’t choose us. We realized that sometimes people didn’t like the salary that we offer. So here we are — we have a nursing shortage.”

Ngirausui said the new pay scale has allowed CHCC to hire three new NCLEX passers. “We are starting them at $36,000 a year. Before, we were only offering them $24,000 a year. We are hoping that the new pay level would attract other local NCLEX passers. We’ll hire them even without experience.”

The funds for the pay increase will come from the hospital’s revenue, Muna said, adding that they have been working with a financial team and the hospital leadership.

“We’ve stressed that it is their responsibility to make sure that the patients pay — collect from the patient, make sure that you capture the charges. If you’ve done something, you have to document it, bill it.”

She noted that CHCC hasn’t raised fees for years now. “So we will go ahead and raise our room rate. That is where we will increase our rate. It will take effect as soon as it is published.”

She added that they are also preparing a report that indicates additional costs for Medicare and Medicaid.

“When the reimbursement comes, we can get the value of that cost at least higher than the level we are getting now.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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