A pathologist who will serve as the Commonwealth Health Center’s laboratory director is expected early next month.
Dr. Philip Dauterman, who works at the Veterans Hospital in Oklahoma, is tentatively scheduled to fly to Saipan and do a weeklong assessment of the public hospital on Sept. 2 through 6.
This visit is part of the 90-day “initial” contract being routed for Dauterman, who will provide consultative services for CHC.
According to acting Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. CEO Cora Ada, the hospital at this time is not fully required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to employ a full-time pathologist/lab director. As long as there is consultation happening with the lab director, this will not adversely affect the continuous operation of the lab unit of CHC, she said.
Dauterman will replace Dr. Caroline Yap, who recently resigned from the post. Ada told Saipan Tribune that payment for Yap’s services for 14 days will be released anytime this week.
Saipan Tribune was told that a “full-time” contract for Dauterman is under negotiation pending the result of the assessment that will identify other areas in the hospital where Dauterman can also contribute.
“We locked in the 90-day [initial contract] to ensure that we have continuous consultation with a lab director,” Ada explained.
Without a lab director/pathologist as required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the corporation may go back to square one in addressing CMMS requirements.
A CMMS team is expected to resurvey the hospital in October this year.
Ada described the corporation’s preparation for this visit as “in full swing.” She said the corporation has so far not received any negative feedback during its biweekly conference with CMMS on the corrective measures it is doing.
“The biweekly conference is really just to update the CMMS on all the things that we’re doing at the hospital and so far, the feedback is good and we’re continuing that effort to ensure that we will maintain the condition of participation because we cannot afford to lose it,” she told Saipan Tribune.
Among the deficiencies CMMS has identified with the hospital is its lack of a lab manager and lab director for many years.
The U.S. Commissioned Corp is currently filling in the need for a lab manager.