CHCC board: Over $40M CHC budget for 2015 is ‘unrealistic’

The $41.5-million budget submission made by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. for fiscal year 2015 was criticized Monday by its own board, who described the figure presented as unrealistic and based on wrong assumptions.

It was also learned that the CHCC budget request for next fiscal year was submitted in April to the Executive Branch without the board’s go-signal. The board has even yet to discuss the proposed budget for 2015.

Board vice chair Pedro Dela Cruz said he will ask lawmakers at the upcoming budget hearing at the Legislature to act against the budget’s passage until the CHCC board has fully reviewed and approved the budget recommendation.

“It was submitted without the board review and concurrence pursuant to law. If the CEO expects us—the board—to go up at the Legislature and support that budget, it ain’t gonna happen because I myself would recommend against its passage until such time that the board reviews it. That’s my take,” said Dela Cruz.

Philip Mendiola-Long also aired concerns, saying it’s not true that CHCC would collect $30 million to $40 million for the year.

“From a finance standpoint, we’re submitting a $40-million budget that’s completely wrong!” he said. “There’s no way we are collecting $30 million to $40 million in revenues…so why on earth are we presenting a budget that reflects that?” he asked the board.

He said CHCC’s cash shortage each month is significant. “You know how much cash we’re short every month? It’s almost $1.6 million per month! The budget needs to be done on cash basis at this point…so we need to look into the numbers again,” he added.

Mendiola-Long emphasized that pending all the pertinent records from CHCC management, the board cannot plan on how it could help the management seek the funding it needs to stay afloat.

The CHCC’s budget submission of $41.5 million in April is inclusive of Tinian and Rota health centers.

In her April letter to the Office of Management and Budget, hospital CEO Esther Muña indicated that baselines for fiscal year 2015 are projected based on last fiscal year’s collections, billed procedures, and pending claims from fiscal years 2012, 2013, and 2014.

Jun Dayao Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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