Three months after a team visit by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. has made great strides in several areas that puts the island's lone public hospital in a more stable condition, according to corporation officials.
Corporation CEO Juan N. Babauta, along with chief operating officer Esther Muna and emergency preparedness director Warren Villagomez, gave Saipan Tribune a tour Friday of the various improvements at the hospital to resolve the serious deficiencies cited by Medicare.
First stop in the two-hour walk through was the newly upgraded main front and ER entrance automatic door sliders for patients' safety and security. This upgrade, which cost the corporation over $5,000, is in addition to the newly designated security post at the hospital entrance, providing 24/7 security detail inside the facility.
Up next was the just arrived 16 Slice Seimen CT scan installed at the radiology department, which cost the corporation about $300,000. This medical equipment is in addition to 10 brand new defibrillators acquired in October, costing $12,000 each.
To address issues on infection control standards, Babauta said the corporation upgraded the unit's linoleum and replaced the operating room gurneys and mattresses. Villagomez disclosed that these upgrades cost about $17,000.
The inpatient pharmacy's vertical hood blower was upgraded to the tune of over $5,000.
According to the officials, the hospital is also expecting the shipment of a new dishwasher for the dietary unit, which cost the corporation over $60,000. It is slated to arrive on Feb. 9 from the East Coast.
The hospital's medication room doors were upgraded with numeric fingerprint and key door lock to keep the room closed at all times. Cost to upgrade the two doors was $4,000, according to Villagomez.
Also disclosed Friday is the approval of the procurement of chemo-waste, the contract of which has been executed and is just awaiting proper packaging materials for transshipment with APEC Pacific.
The corporation has also procured a new boiler worth about $500,000 to replace the dilapidated unit at the hospital.
According to Babauta, these latest upgrades are in addition to many other small improvements earlier completed for the hospital in an effort to address all concerns raised by Medicare.
To date, the corporation had spent over a million dollars to procure new equipment and upgrades, sourced from both federal grants and its own revenue.
During the tour Friday, corporation officials also received updates from almost all units and sections that were visited and inspected. Units visited included the neonatal intensive care unit, respiratory care, laboratory section, operating room, emergency room, inpatient pharmacy, psychiatry section, and the new centralized billing and collection department of the hospital.