CHCC board now complete

The Senate approved Friday Gov. Ralph DLG Torres’ appointees to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board, completing the roster of the board, which will now govern the corporation.

The Senate approved the appointments of David Rosario, Lauri Ogumoro, and Leticia Reyes as the three representatives of Saipan on the CHCC board, joining Tinian representative William Cing and Rota representative Dr. Larry Hocog, whose appointments have already been confirmed.

CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña will have six more months to orient the new board on how the lone hospital in the CNMI runs and how CHCC runs as a whole operation before starting to report to them.

Rosario thinks one of the main priorities to look at is teamwork and cooperation among board members.

“We should contact each other, get together, and organize ourselves to address issues,” he said, mentioning that the hemodialysis center on Rota is one of his top priorities.

“We need to engage with [Muña],” he added, saying he looks forward to working with the CEO.

“She is a very good CEO that I know of,” he added.

Ogumoro, who used to work at the dialysis center at CHC, said she would look into the hemodialysis center as well as the finances of CHCC, among many other issues.

“There is a lot of need and [CHCC] is a vital organization for everyone in the CNMI,” she said.

“We would [also] look for personnel for CHCC,” she said, adding that there is still a lot to be done.

Reyes wishes to step back and look into the finances and billings of CHCC.

“Are we billing correctly? Collecting correctly? From there, we would look at the other areas that we need to improve and make changes,” she said, adding that the she wishes to work with the other board members before prioritizing anything.

When asked about CHCC running its own outpatient pharmacy in the hospital, Reyes said she has to first educate herself about the facts.

“I also want to see what happened in the past—why was it changed in the past?”

Public Law 19-78 changed the role of the CHCC board from an advisory board to a governing one. It was signed into law by Torres last Jan. 14. The passage of PL 19-78 grants the CHCC board the authority to control the corporation’s daily operations, functions, and activities. Prior to the creation of the new board, the previous board had a famously adversarial relationship with Muña.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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