The interim chief executive officer of the public hospital, Esther Muña, now gets a higher salary after the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board decided to give her a salary adjustment.
From $85,000 per annum as the corporation’s chief operating officer and interim CEO, Muña is now paid $96,000 per year, according to corporation board chair Joaquin Torres yesterday.
Muña was named the corporation’s interim CEO on April 29, 2012, following the termination of former CEO Juan N. Babauta. The adjusted salary, Torres explained, is based on the compensation paid to Babauta.
Saipan Tribune confirmed that Muña’s adjusted salary will be retroactively applied starting on April 29, 2012.
The CHCC board had earlier recommended to Gov. Eloy S. Inos Muña’s permanent selection as corporation CEO, citing her competence and dedication to the job. The governor has yet to decide on this.
The Governor’s Office earlier vowed to shoulder for at least a year the salary of a permanent hospital CEO and CFO, using the governor’s discretionary funds, in consideration of the corporation’s current financial capability.
Since the announcement of the CEO vacancy, some off-island candidates have expressed interest in the position but, according to the CHCC board, most want a high salary, which the corporation may not be able to afford.
Torres said the governor would make a decision on the hiring of permanent CEO once the result of the Medicare resurvey is released. Torres said he had a recent conversation with Inos about this.
“Once we receive the result [of the Medicare resurvey], the governor will decide on the CEO [hiring],” he told Saipan Tribune, adding that whether the position will be filled within or from outside the organization will be up to the governor.
Torres expressed optimism that the recent federal survey on the hospital will show favorable results. He cited the collective efforts demonstrated by the staff and management in meeting and rectifying the concerns raised by the Medicare in last year’s survey.
The corporation has spent a little over $3 million and counting to address the Medicare citations. This included hiring more personnel, buying medical tools and equipment, and trainings for personnel, among others.
CHC was sanctioned with immediate jeopardy statuses last year due to serious deficiencies uncovered by a Medicare team that visited the hospital. That placed the hospital’s condition of participation with Medicare and Medicaid at risk.