On Sept. 7, 2012, Marianas Variety reporter Tammy Doty reported a story titled “Paralyzed child fights for survival.” She wrote about a particular child suffering in the ICU wherein a nutritional supplement PediaSure is required to keep the child alive. This article stated that the medical supply item was not available at CHC and the parents had to “beg” for donations from pharmacies and the community. She outlined other situations at CHC resulting from substandard care due to the collapsing financial capability of the institution. While MPLT does not take exception to the problems CHC is facing, we do take exception to the way Ms. Doty characterized and portrayed MPLT in a very unfair manner when she said, “To add insult to injury, the Marianas Public Land Trust has steadfastly refused to approve any further CHC credit-line drawdowns because no confidence exists in a payback plan.” This remark appears biased by inferring that MPLT is the cause of CHC's current financial difficulties.
For your information, MPLT approved a $4.58 million loan as is indicated in Ms. Doty's article. Of that, $1.58 million is for the establishment and improvement of the CHC's Electronic Health Records System. As of April 18, 2012, a total of $3 million was issued to CHC. This was done due to the impending collapse of CHC. I can assure you that had MPLT stayed silent then and did nothing, CHC would be in much more dire circumstances.
Since September 2011, MPLT has been very supportive of trying to help CHC. We initially indicated a willingness to help and have since agreed to provide $11.58 million for CHC's line of credit loan request. MPLT, however, requires that CHC produce and provide a business plan, cash flow forecasts, plan for improving billings and collections, etc. None of these required documents has been received to date. We also required legislation to provide MPLT with the ability to recover any loan to CHC that may result in a default by offsetting future distributions of interest accrued on the trust proceeds to the CNMI General Fund. This legislation was eventually passed but does not guaranty MPLT approving this loan if CHC cannot pass MPLT's due diligence process, such as the ability to service the debt. We have extended help to CHC and have been working with them ever since to overcome the current loan issues, but MPLT cannot blindly make a loan when there is no ability for repayment.
Ms. Doty also reported that due to MPLT not approving any additional funds above the $4.5 million already approved, Lt. Governor Eloy S. Inos made a special request for $2.2 million immediate cash-infusion three weeks ago but was met with nothing but silence. This report holds no facts and is grossly incorrect. We discussed this request with the lieutenant governor and ways to help CHC. Our lawyer and trustees' consultant continued such discussion with the lieutenant governor and his staff and provided him with a draft bill to increase the “sin” taxes as a way to fund CHC debt service to MPLT. We indicated to the lieutenant governor that with this legislation in place MPLT would be willing to approve such loan to CHC.
Ms. Doty never contacted MPLT to ask our comments on this issue to check and verify her facts before she published her article. Ms. Alexie V. Zotomayor, who reports for the Marianas Variety on MPLT matters, has always checked her facts for accuracy and we appreciate that. On the other hand, Ms. Doty writes of what she believes regardless and is guilty of a very sloppy and false reporting on this issue as it applies to MPLT.
MPLT trustees respectfully request that Marianas Variety and especially Ms. Doty to get her facts in order first before reporting on MPLT actions and policies.
Pedro R. Deleon Guerrero
Chairman, Marianas Public Land Trust