$1.4M OK’d for A. Samoa, Guam, Enewetak

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved $1.4 million in fiscal year 2018 grants for American Samoa, Guam, and Enewetak Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, mainly to fund utility and healthcare projects.

“[Interior] Secretary [Ryan] Zinke and I are pleased provide funds that bolster basic and much-needed services at hospitals and utilities for people in Guam, American Samoa, and Enewetak as we do across all the U.S. Insular Areas,” said Doug Domenech, assistant secretary for Insular and International Affairs this week.

The projects listed below were funded through the Technical Assistance and Maintenance Assistance Programs in the Office of Insular Affairs:

– American Samoa Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center: $493,581 to provide training in the End Stage Renal Dialysis Unit for career service employees and nurses leading to Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technicians and ESRD nurses. In 1980, the ESRD had only two dialysis chairs and two patients. As of the first quarter of 2018, they now serve 170 patients and have 32 chairs, with three shifts every day.

-An additional grant for the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center of $176,000 will be used to conduct a cost-based assessment of current billing practices and the revenue cycle at the hospital. The goal is to revamp and improve the chargemaster and billing system at the hospital, provide training to staff, and help meet reforms and regulations introduced by the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015 among other reform requirements. The LBJ is the only hospital in the territory and serves approximately 60,000 people.

– Guam Waterworks Authority: $500,000 to assess and evaluate needs for upgrading the Enterprise Resource Planning system. Funding will support the procurement and contracting of an experienced information technology firm to perform a full assessment and provide recommendations for all business functions and processes that should be included and integrated into a new system suitable for water and wastewater utility operations.

– American Samoa Power Authority: $96,470 to fund a professional training and apprenticeship program. The program will help meet critical needs and provide training for nearly 25 local staff as well drillers, water systems operators, electricians/engineers for photovoltaic installation, and licensed professional engineers.

– Enewetak Health Care Clinic:$140,000 to renovate the 177 4-Atoll Health Care Program Clinic in Enewetak. The clinic has survived several typhoons and has only had minor cosmetic repairs since first built 30 years ago. Funds will be used to repair the roof, the electrical wiring system, and plumbing. Enewetak is one of four nuclear-affected atolls in the Marshall Islands impacted by the nuclear weapons testing program conducted between 1946 and 1958.

Applications for these grants are submitted from October through May 1 each year. Funds are awarded once OIA receives appropriations from the U.S. Congress until they are exhausted. (DOI)

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