While the Commonwealth Health Center is short of nurses, it seems to have an adequate number of physicians, based on the latest records of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.
Interim corporation CEO Esther Muña disclosed last week that the facility now has a total of 27 physicians in different sections and departments of the hospital—a number that she described as “stable.” There are also six physician assistants and two certified nurse midwives, she added.
According to corporation documents, there are three doctors at the emergency medicine department: Drs. Greg Kotheimer, Florence Schenker, and Martin Rohringer—all full time. They are being assisted by physician assistants Benjamin Hochhalter, Alexander Johanson, Brian Lobb, and William Fisher.
Family medicine has 3 physicians: Drs. Dan Lamar, Hazel Christine Brown, and part-timer Tiffany Willis. This department has one designated PA at this time, Christine Strong.
Internal medicine has five full-time physicians: Drs. John Doyle III, Esther Kanayjorn, Joel Smith, George Macris, and John Tudela. Also assigned to this department are nephrologist Dr. Sherleen Osman and gastroenterologist Dr. Ji Woon Kim.
The surgery and anesthesia department has six full-time and one part-time physicians: Drs. James Cole, Michael Koning, Roger Rodenhuis, Glenn Cunninghamn, John Yarofalir, Jeri Hallman, and Dr. Levine.
The OB-gynecology section has two full time docs: Drs. Liane Mizgala and Jeonolivia Grant. The section also has two certified nurse midwives, Sarah Allen and Roca Sablan.
Three doctors—Drs. Leticia Borja, Yousef Turshani, and Christopher Steadman—are at the pediatrics department. It has one PA, Rhonda Gleason.
The hospital also has a psychiatrist, Dr. Jeremy Richards.
Muña, during last week’s board meeting, disclosed that one additional orthopedic surgeon is expected to begin in October after the corporation hired him under J-1 visa. He will come from Guam and will be given a three-year contract, a requirement under the J-1 visa.
One family medicine doctor is also expected to join CHC within the year, along with a new PA recruit for the Urgent Clinic.
According to Muña, the hospital has now three pharmacists and another one will join them once a contract is finalized. Of these four, one will be serving as locum.
The pharmacy section was among those that were cited by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for its lack of staff. CMS recommended that the section employ four pharmacists in order to provide 24/7 service.
Muña said the hospital’s pharmacy has yet to implement a 24-hour service but they are looking into expanding it as soon as the fourth pharmacist comes in.
Muna also reported that a new lab director will arrive today, Sept. 2, for a weeklong visit and assessment of the hospital. Dr. Philip Dauterman, from Oklahoma, has been hired on an independent contract for laboratory consultancy services. Muña said the hospital is looking into bringing him in for full-time work.
She said that additional manpower is also expected in the coming months for the respiratory department, to help its only two respiratory therapists.
Muña disclosed to Saipan Tribune that the employees’ housing allowance for August was issued last Wednesday noon.
Corporation records show that 102 employees, mostly nurses from the Philippines, are given this allowance. This is a decline from previous months’ number of over 140 recipients.
The housing allowance is given to hospital staff recruited from outside the CNMI. This amounts to $600 monthly for single employees and $800 per month for those with families.
In 2012, the corporation board voted to scrap this benefits due to scarce resources.
Saipan Tribune learned that employees whose contracts were recently renewed were the first batch whose allowance was stopped following agreement that a portion of the benefit will be factored into their work contracts.