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Thursday, April 17, 2014

30 apply for hospital's chief financial officer post

The search for a chief financial officer for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. may soon be over following disclosure that 30 individuals have expressed interest in the position.

Corporation board chair Joaquin Torres told Saipan Tribune yesterday that majority of these applicants meet the statutory requirements of the job. The vacancy was advertised nationally to get a good pool of candidates.

Torres said the corporation’s human resource department is now reviewing all documents to ensure that the most qualified and experienced candidate is selected.

The position has been vacant for quite some time now. The last time the corporation had a CFO was during the tenure of Alvaro Santos, an appointee of former CEO Juan N. Babauta.

The CHCC board earlier disclosed that the Office of the Governor, using the governor’s discretionary funds, has promised to shoulder for at least a year the salaries of the hospital CFO and whoever will be appointed the permanent CEO, in consideration of the financial condition of the corporation.

Based on the early vacancy announcements, a CFO may be paid up to $120,000 per annum.

According to Torres, most of the 30 applicants are from off-island and are credentialed for the job. However, a decision can only be made after everything has been fully reviewed by the HR and interim CEO Esther Muña.

Meantime, the issue of appointing a permanent CEO for the hospital remains in the back burner for now. Both Gov. Eloy S. Inos and Torres separately stated that a decision on the matter will be made as soon as the result of the Medicare resurvey is released.

The U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services recently visited the Commonwealth Health Center to check whether it has remedied the many issues and deficiencies that were identified at the hospital last year.

At that time, the hospital was slapped with immediate jeopardy statuses and CMS threatened to revoke CHC’s Condition of Participation with Medicare if the deficiencies are not resolved.

A decision on CHC’s continued participation in Medicare remains pending at the federal level.

“We have an agreement with the governor that the decision for the permanent CEO position will be made after the result of the resurvey,” Torres said.

He admitted, though, that the CHCC board has already recommended Muña’s appointment as permanent CEO, with a salary base of up to $150,000 per annum.

Muña, the corporation’s chief operating officer, became interim CEO after the termination of Juan N. Babauta in March this year. Her salary was also adjusted from $85,000 per annum to $96,000 in consideration of the additional tasks she’s performing for the organization.

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