The Commonwealth Health Center and the health centers on Tinian and Rota have a stable number of physicians, according to Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CEO Juan N. Babauta.
The corporation runs the CNMI's lone public hospital on Saipan as well as the satellite health centers on Tinian and Rota.
Babauta said the corporation employs a total of 22 doctors with only one physician working on a part-time basis.
Of this number, 20 are at CHC, while two are assigned to the Rota Health Center.
Despite the absence of a permanent doctor at the Tinian Health Center, it has a midlevel provider who functions under the direct supervision of physicians at CHC, Babauta said.
He said the corporation is actively looking for a doctor to fill the vacant position at the Tinian clinic. The health center lost its permanent doctor when Dr. Frank Pair passed away last month. Since then, midlevel provider Arley Long has been providing 24-hour coverage for the people of the island.
The corporation earlier disclosed plans to temporarily transfer one of the two doctors on Rota to Tinian. There has been no decision on this matter at this time.
The 20 physicians at CHC include three doctors for internal medicine; three physicians at the emergency room; four pediatricians; two for the OB-Gyne department; one for nephrology; two surgeons; one for psychiatry; two anesthesiologists; and one for gastronology.
Besides these doctors, the corporation also has a number of physician assistants. Saipan Tribune learned that there are for PAs for the emergency room; and one at the Family Care Clinic.
The number of physicians, however, keeps changing as a result of retirement, resignation, relocation, and other reasons, according to Babauta. Saipan Tribune learned that among the physicians who recently left the hospital are Drs. Jeremiah and Christine Cranks and Dr. Ruben Arafiles.
CHC had about 27 to 30 doctors in the past. A number have resigned since 2011 as a result of uncertainties at the public hospital due to the government's worsening financial crisis.
On the nurses' side, the corporation seems to have abated the exodus of nurses, with a total of 160 nurses currently on board. This number is expected to increase, pending the recruitment of nine more nurses.