Senate President Victor Hocog (Ind-Rota) echoed a colleague’s call that a bill changing the advisory board of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. into a governing one should first pass muster before the Senate passes it.
“We need to seriously look at the situation that happened in the House first before we pass that. We have issue to amend and extract from the provisions that [are] there,” he said, referring to Senate Bill 19-04, which was prefiled by Sen. Teresita A. Santos (R-Rota) last Jan. 20.
“We need to look into [the] qualifications of the governing board. We want to make sure both the CEO and whoever will be he governing board will be in service to one another rather than having any controversy.”
Like what Santos earlier said, Hocog would like the bill to be thoroughly reviewed first before it even reaches the Senate chamber for a vote.
“Sometimes we like to put boundaries between regulatory policymakers and governing board and administrators and I want that addressed in the bill so the responsibilities of both parties will be clear. So there will be no micromanagement by the board on the CEO. We need to understand that the CEO is there daily to communicate with federal entities that require immediate attention on the procedures of the hospital,” he said.
Unlike the previous version of the bill that passed the Senate sans public hearing or a committee report, Hocog vowed that the Senate would not make the same mistake twice on SB 19-04.
“We’re going to hold the public hearing so we can work that out before passage of any legislation. Like I said, the committee would look at it first so we can brainstorm about it before holding the public hearing so if the community has questions we will already have answers about it,” he said.
SB 19-04 seeks to amend certain provisions of Public Law 1651 to allow for a smooth transition from the department to the new healthcare corporation, therefore empowering the board of trustees “to make policies and perform all acts necessary and expedient to ensure the delivery of quality care in a financially responsible manner for the people of the Commonwealth.”
Public Law 16-51 is the law that transformed the erstwhile Department of Public Health into the autonomous CHCC.