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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Constant ‘lack or incomplete’ financial reporting irks CHCC board

Members of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board lambasted the corporation’s management yesterday for what it described as its constant submission of incomplete financial reports, thus preventing them from determining the true status of the organization.

Board vice chair Pete Dela Cruz complained about this at the start of the special meeting yesterday after files of documents were handed out to members.

Anthony Raho echoed Dela Cruz, citing the mandates of Public Law 16-51 where the management is required to submit to the board a monthly financial statement and related reports. P.L. 16-51 created the healthcare corporation and its advisory board in fiscal year 2011.

Like Dela Cruz, Raho found it troubling that it becomes a habit for the management to provide important reports to the members only at the time of the actual board meeting. Raho said he had asked before that reports and financial data must be provided to members at least one week in advance so they would have time to digest, study, and review all information that would be presented to the board.

“We have a fiduciary duty and we are responsible for the public oversight of the hospital expenditure. Without these information, it would be difficult for us to do our job,” stated Raho.

According to Dela Cruz, since the corporation started two years ago, there has been a consistent lack or incomplete reports from the management.

“It seems like what you’re giving us are piecemeal information of what you want us to see,” said Dela Cruz, adding that “it even takes a lot of requests and demands” for board members to get information on the organization’s finances.

Present during yesterday’s board meeting were interim CEO Esther Muña and acting chief financial officer Cora Ada.

According to Muña, the delay in producing the financial data is due to the “many works” being performed by the management such as transitioning federal grants from the Finance Department to the corporation, the unfriendly accounting system, among others.

“For the last two years, this has been the same response we’re getting! Do you think the MPLT loan will be approved without getting an update on financial statements?” asked an irked Dela Cruz.

Due to the dissatisfaction of members and the limited time to review all financial materials, board chair Joaquin Torres moved to suspend tackling the financial reports until the next board meeting.

One of the impacts of not having the advanced material for the board meeting is the lack of information on hand for members who are participating via teleconference or videoconference.

Newly-appointed trustee Philip Mendiola Long of Tinian didn’t get his copy of the financial reports until after the chairman instructed the materials to be sent electronically to the trustee.

Long emphasized the importance of “hard financial data” to back the organization’s request to extend its line of credit, for example.

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