Contrary to allegations, Freedom Air released the laboratory specimens from the Tinian Health Center without delay last Wednesday, even without payment from the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., according to its Saipan general manager Dennis Cruz.
Corporation CEO Juan N. Babauta told Saipan Tribune Thursday that the local carrier withheld releasing the laboratory specimens due to the nonpayment of the shipment.
The Freedom Air official said yesterday that the corporation was supposed to pay upfront all shipment of specimens from Tinian because these are labeled “collect,” which means payment upon receipt.
Cruz said this is not the first time the corporation failed to follow through on the expected upfront payment.
But understanding the financial condition of the corporation and the documentation process that needs to be completed for the shipment, Cruz said he made the decision-as Freedom Air's Saipan manager-to go ahead and release them even without payment.
“This shipment came from Tinian and was sent to Saipan 'collect,' which means you need to pay upon receipt. But from my good heart, I took it upon myself to release it without payment and wait for the next day to give us the payment, which also didn't happen,” said Cruz.
For Cruz, the health of the people of Tinian is the main reason why he always extends consideration to the corporation, which remains deficient in its payments.
Babauta told Saipan Tribune yesterday that the issue about the Tinian laboratory specimen has been “addressed” after communicating with Cruz yesterday afternoon.
He said the corporation opened a “charge/purchase account” for Freedom Air specifically for lab specimens. Babauta also said that the shipment that was placed on hold was officially released yesterday after the airline agreed to a “payment plan” recommended by the corporation.
Cruz said, however, that “no new payment plan” has been finalized and described the charge account as something that has already been open for quite some time.
Cruz refused to specify the amount owed by the corporation, including debts incurred by the former Department of Public Health.
Meantime, corporation Medical Supply Office director Nick Nekai confirmed with Saipan Tribune that the shipment was received by MSO and is still in “good condition.”
He said the hold up was the result of some “misunderstanding” between the Tinian Health Center and the corporation.
Nekai said that MSO receives lab specimens from both Tinian and Rota centers on a daily basis. Because specimens usually last up to 24 hours, he said it's very important that they receive the shipment as soon as possible for immediate analysis and examination.
A laboratory specimen is a biological specimen gathered from a patient's tissue, fluids, or other material that is used for laboratory analysis to assist diagnosis or staging of a disease process. Common examples include throat swabs, sputum, urine, blood, surgical drain fluids, tissue biopsies, and others.