Just a week after naming a new resident director for the Tinian Health Center, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CEO Juan N. Babauta announced yesterday the hiring of a new permanent physician for the center.
The Tinian Health Center has been operating without a full-time doctor since Dr. Steven Lebamoff's resignation last year.
Babauta disclosed during yesterday's special board meeting that Dr. Frank Pair was recruited through an agency and has been hired by the corporation under an independent contract effective this week. He did not disclose the contract amount but described the doctor's employment as “perfectly legal” and was coursed through the Office of the Attorney General.
THC has been criticized for not having a permanent doctor for many years. The issue has been at the center of recent arguments between Babauta and Tinian board member Anthony Aguon, who earlier labeled as “irresponsible” some of the CEO's decisions, including the failed hiring of a full-time doctor for Tinian.
Babauta admitted yesterday that the contract of the physician that was hired before Pair was “invalid” following a determination by the OAG that the contract was not properly executed. That doctor left just days after arriving to supposedly start work.
Prior to Pair, Dr. Priyawathan Wijay was the center's full-time doctor under a special contract that required him to work only from Friday to Tuesday each week.
Babauta said they recently approached Wijay and asked him to serve full time, an offer that Wijay rejected. He agreed, however, to work part-time.
Babauta said that Wijay will be retained to help reduce the coverage of the new physician.
He said he talks everyday with THC resident director William Cing to monitor how the new physician is adjusting. He was informed that Pair is “adjusting well” on Tinian.
Cing told Saipan Tribune yesterday that Pair was hired from Alabama. He met the new physician only on Friday.
According to Cing, THC has about 30 personnel including himself and the new physician. Other employees are nine nurses, a laboratory technician, an x-ray technician, two pharmacists, two staff for environmental health, one staff for the medical supply office, two for housekeeping, two trade maintenance workers, and three at its accounting unit.
Cing said it is the center's priority to maintain the level of emergency care it provides to the public. THC provides both inpatient and emergency care.