HHS Region XI director visits Saipan

A top official of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Region IX visited Saipan last week.

HHS Region Region IX Director Melissa Stafford-Jones arrived last Friday with the primary purpose of expanding her knowledge of health care services in the CNMI.

Stafford-Jones met with Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. officials and had discussions with management, medical staff, and division directors as well as key personnel from the hospital, behavioral health, and public health programs.

She also met with leaders from the NMC nursing program.

Stafford-Jones also conducted a site visit to the Kagman Community Health Center.

According to CHCC, the visit afforded them an opportunity to share their progress with systems improvements to ensure the availability of quality health care services for CNMI residents.

CHCC said it was evident from the visit and interactions with staff that Stafford Jones is committed to continued collaboration with CHCC.

“We are very grateful to Ms. Stafford-Jones for including the CNMI in her Pacific Islands’ visit and to see first-hand how dedicated our staff is in pursuing the best for our patients as well as to see how health delivery becomes a challenge due to our remoteness and inequity,” CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muna said.

CHCC added that the regional director provided key updates from her office including a consideration in the President’s FY 2017 budget which could positively impact legacy caps for Medicaid cost-sharing and reimbursement.

Aside from visiting CHCC, Stafford-Jones also met with Gov. Ralph DLG Torres and Legislative Health Committee leaders from the Senate and the House.

Stafford-Jones will also visit other Pacific islands including Guam and Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Island where she will participate in the 59th meeting of the Pacific Islands’ Health Officers Association.

Frauleine S. Villanueva-Dizon | Reporter
Frauleine Michelle S. Villanueva was a broadcast news producer in the Philippines before moving to the CNMI to pursue becoming a print journalist. She is interested in weather and environmental reporting but is an all-around writer. She graduated cum laude from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Journalism and was a sportswriter in the student publication.

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