CHCC, Star Marianas sit down to talk about Rota


Star Marianas Air is pitching a recommendation to the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. regarding seating concerns for Rota’s interisland medical referral patients.

The meeting between the carrier and CHCC on Tuesday was facilitated by Sen. Teresita Santos (R-Rota) after the corporation reached out to her about Rota referrals losing their seats due to the airline’s confirmation policies.

The two raised allegations of unpaid debt between them but Santos said in a statement after the meeting that the two decided to settle the alleged debts privately.

Santos said that Star Marianas Air “highly recommended” that CHCC make a “reasonable security deposit” to confirm Rota medical referral seats.

Doing it that way will “ensure payment of air transportation to our interisland medical referral patients pending the complete processing of a patient’s travel authorizations [or TA] by CHCC,” Santos told Saipan Tribune.

In a letter dated Dec. 19, 2017, CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña asked the senator for help about Rota referrals losing their seats due to a cash-payment prior to confirmation policy that Star Marianas imposed in early 2017.

Muña said in the same letter that the lengthy process of securing TA’s create delays for medical referral patient. She requested that Star Marianas provide a 24-hour exemption for Rota medical referral patients to avoid inconveniences.

Although nothing has been finalized yet, Muña told Saipan Tribune that discussions about this matter will continue.

“We have an understanding of the process that [Star Marianas] wants us to utilize to better serve…patients from Rota,” Muña said. “Overall, it was a good meeting.”

While Muña declined to disclose specifics of the recommendation, she said CHCC would be communicating with Star Marianas to further discuss the process.

“Nothing is finalized; they made a recommendation, but we need to make sure it complies with our policies. Further discussions would be made,” she said, adding that she was grateful to Santos for facilitating the meeting.

Rota delegation to act

Muña said in the same interview that the Rota Legislative Delegation was brought into the picture for assistance. She said CHCC wished to discuss with the delegation how to make the transportation process easier.

“This is what we were asking for anyway,” she said.

In the same statement from Santos, she said the delegation would give CHCC’s appeal for financial support “serious consideration.”

“…CHCC appeals for financial support in order to continue accommodating air transportation to our patient referrals. In doing so, our Rota patients can be provided the necessary care and/or service at CHCC,” she said.

“The same will be taken into serious consideration by our Rota Legislative Delegation when acting on an appropriation bill soon,” she added.

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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