The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board found out Friday that the consultant it earlier hired for billing and collection, Idaho-based International Consulting Services, wrongfully received $150,000 from the corporation.
Corporation COO and chief financial officer Esther Muña disclosed that the amount was deposited into ICS' account for May 1 to 8, 2012. Muña was quick to say, however, that management will pursue all means to retrieve the money.
“ICS collections [that were] wrongfully deposited need to be returned back to CHCC. In one week time alone, from May 1 to 8, $150,000 of the $180,000 collections was deposited when productivity of those claims was clearly from CHCC staff and not ICS staff,” stated Muña in her report to the board.
She admitted that the amount may change once a full accounting of records is completed.
“Once we get the total, we will put everything together and we will bring it to the legal counsel because we need to go after them,” Muña told the board, adding that management will go back to all ICS records since the beginning of its contract. Muña estimated to complete the review in a week's time.
Corporation CEO Juan N. Babauta executed a six-year sole-source contract with ICS in February 2012. Because the contract was made outside of the then emergency declaration for CHC and due to noncompliance with the requirements of the law, then attorney general Edward T. Buckingham declared the contract void and unconstitutional.
Babauta, when asked by the board on the latest development with the ICS issue, reported that the matter remains pending at the OAG. Buckingman has already quit his job and relocated off-island.
Babauta said that he, along with other CHCC officials, including then COO Jim Phillips, were interviewed by OPA and OAG about the ICS matter. Phillips was later terminated for allegedly giving the board inaccurate information on ICS issues.
Babauta was instructed Friday to follow up the matter with the OAG and OPA.
According to board chair Joaquin Torres, the ICS matter was referred to the OAG after the board's special committee did an internal probe and recommended the matter for referral to the OAG for prosecution.
It was earlier disclosed that ICS received an advance payment of $37,000 for a contract that it didn't actually perform. The board earlier ordered corporation management to recoup all improper payments made to ICS.
Meantime, board members were informed Friday that the corporation has retained the services of Guam Marianas Collection Agency for the collection of stale accounts. It only gets paid when it actually collects monies for the hospital.
GMCA's contract, according to Muña, provides a 25-percent fee for what it collects and 10 percent fee for the billing works.