Many birth certificates dating back to last year remain pending at the Health and Vital Statistics Office of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. due to the absence of a required signature by the attending physician.
Saipan Tribune learned this following disclosure by corporation officials that a private physician has refused to sign the birth certificates due to unmet financial obligations of patients.
Sources revealed that Health and Vital Statistics Office program manager Wilbert Gilmete-Rospel has already relayed this issue to the Office of the Attorney General.
According to corporation officials, the refusal of the private physician to sign the birth certificates due to payment issues is a violation of Public Law 15-50, Section 9, which pertains to birth registration requirements.
According to this law, medical information needs to be provided within 72 hours and registered with the registrar within five days after a child's birth.
Saipan Tribune learned that Gilmete-Rospel told assistant attorney general Allen Hazlip that the issue is becoming a legal concern for the corporation after his office communicated with the private physician about these outstanding birth applications, which requires the doctor's certification.
Sources disclosed that most of the affected birth certificates date back to 2012.
Saipan Tribune opted not to identify the private physician involved until comments could be obtained from the doctor. However, calls made to the physician failed yesterday.
In an interview with corporation CEO Juan N. Babauta yesterday, he confirmed being aware of the issue. He disclosed that the corporation is awaiting the official position or advice of its legal counsel on the matter.
Babauta said the “payment issue” is between the private doctor and his/her patients but he is concerned how the situation will affect the pending records of the statistics office.
“As CEO, I am concerned about it and we are seeking the legal advice from [the OAG]. The corporation will wait for an official opinion on the matter and will start from there,” he told Saipan Tribune.
Babauta said the situation “should not go on” because this creates legal problems. The corporation's Health and Vital Statistics Office is responsible for enforcing Public Law 15-50 pertaining to the birth certification.
The corporation may revisit its partnership with CHC providers to reiterate the existing policies and statutes that need to be followed.