Despite appeals to spare the Rota Health Center from any reduction-in-force, Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board vice chair Pedro Dela Cruz disclosed to Saipan Tribune that the fact remains that once finalized an RIF will be implemented across all health centers in the Commonwealth.
Cruz made the statement in reaction to a recent request made by Rep. Teresita Santos (Ind-Rota) to the corporation asking that RHC be exempted from the measure as this will further create crisis in the island's healthcare system and its people.
Cruz, who represents Rota in the healthcare corporation board, said that although cost-cutting measures for Rota have been earlier discussed, it's merely “just a discussion” for now.
However, he said once confirmed, the cost-cutting measure will be for all three islands.
“In regards to the RIF, again it is not just Rota and Tinian that will be affected. CHC is taking most of the brunt. RIF will always be in our plan should it become necessary,” Dela Cruz told Saipan Tribune.
Santos, in her Oct. 20 letter to CEO Juan N. Babauta, disclosed that the community on Rota is very much concerned on the planned continuation of the corporation's RIF which had affected a dozen employees on the first wave.
But the vice chair admitted that he found it “ironic” that Santos is raising this issue.
“I find it ironic that the congresswoman is raising this issue. If they are so concerned why it is that the Legislature only appropriated $1.9 million for the corporation? The Legislature as well as Rep. Santos should be more concerned about the health condition of our people and stop the talk and do the walk,” Dela Cruz told Saipan Tribune in an email.
Dela Cruz cited the board's resolution adopted in August where the corporation asked both Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and the Legislature for financial assistance of $38 million to delivery its responsibility in providing quality healthcare.
“[And what] we got is merely $1.9 million.so where is the priority?” he asked.
Saipan Tribune learned that the Rota Health Center employs over 40 employees, which was a reduction from previous year's count of 52 personnel. Currently onboard at the center are two doctors, two registered nurses, three licensed practical nurses, eight nursing assistants, and the rest are support and administrative staffers.
Dela Cruz pointed out that the “downsizing of the Rota and Tinian health centers” were just discussions as part of the plan in the event that the corporation's financial situation is worst.
“It is not only Rota and Tinian that will be affected, the Commonwealth Health Center will be most affected. This idea was table during our last week board meeting. It must be noted that if such downsizing is to take effect, the Board of Trustees have no authority unless the current statute is amended to reflect such change.The Legislature, administration as well as the respective mayors of Rota and Tinian will also be part of this decision,” he added.