Hospital sees growth, stability in clinical staffing


The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. has finally earned a reputation of being a suitable employer of primary and midlevel providers, according to CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña.

CHCC’s vow to recruit and retain adequate and quality staffing has been maintained over the years since it first started in 2011.

“It was evident with the full staffing of primary care physicians and midlevel providers at Commonwealth Health Center. As a Medicare-certified primary care facility, CHC hospital assured the community of its obligation to provide primary care specialties of internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics-gynecology, and general practice for its hospital services,” Muña said.

For primary care services, the hospital provided 60,000 outpatient services and consistently provided inpatient care services at 90 percent or at higher capacity in 2014.

CHCC now has seven internal medicine physicians, allowing the hospital to reopen the internal medicine clinic.

CHCC’s pediatricians have also increased from three to six.

“This increase allowed for the pediatricians to extend their service at the Rota and Tinian Health Centers and the Kagman Community Health Center,” Muña said.

CHCC also has a fully staffed surgery department.

According to Muña, CHCC also hired more pharmacists and respiratory therapists to ensure the availability of services at the hospital, including a laboratory director/pathologist. The laboratory director is responsible for maintaining CHCC’s laboratory conditions and its certification.

“As a primary care hospital, we had successfully filled all provider vacancies, meeting primary care needs. As a Medicare-certified dialysis facility, we also have the only nephrologist in the CNMI,” Muña said.

Muña said that having the reputation of being a suitable employer for providers is a significant milestone for the corporation because it goes in line with the standards that they are striving for their patients—the same standards required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“CMS regulations state that the medical staff is accountable for the quality of care provided to patients and that the governing body must ‘ensure the criteria for selection based on’ individual character, competence, training, experience and judgment,” Muña said.

“Regulations further state that ‘under no circumstances that professional privileges in the hospital are dependent solely upon certification, fellowship or membership in a specialty body or society.’ So even if they are board-certified or they are members of a specialty body, CHCC must vet physicians based on the criteria before granting them privileges to practice at our facility,” she added.

Muña said that following regulations is necessary because “this is the standard that CHCC must maintain for all our patients” and they cannot put even one patient at risk by deviating from that standard.

Jayson Camacho | Reporter
Jayson Camacho covers community events, tourism, and general news coverages. Contact him at

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