KCHC offers MOU to CHCC

Both healthcare providers summoned

Kagman Community Health Center staff working in the Social Hall of Santa Soledad Parish in Kagman. (Erwin Encinares)

A Saipan and Northern Islands Legislative Delegation committee has summoned the chief executive officers and boards of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. and the Kagman Community Health Center to talk about what led the latter to move to a temporary site.

The KCHC, which used to operate a clinic on Lemmai Way in Kagman II, has moved its operations to the Santa Soledad Parish social hall as a result of CHCC replacing the locks and alarm codes of the KCHC clinic.

According to House vice speaker Janet Maratita (R-Saipan), a lack of planning and communication is prominent in the scuffle between the two healthcare providers. She also serves as the delegation committee chair for Health and Welfare.

“The issue here is [there is] a lack of communication. We all should come to the table and discuss it [there]. We have to lay down all our plans since our ultimate goal is to provide healthcare services in Kagman and also in San Antonio,” she told Saipan Tribune in an interview.

Their meeting is scheduled for Friday, 9am, at the House chamber on Capital Hill.

In a previous CHCC statement, CEO Esther Muña said the expiration of the Federally Qualified Health Center grant, which was funding the center, on April 30, 2018, made the KCHC facility and equipment the responsibility of CHCC.

The same statement also echoed the “most important” management requirement to be in compliance with the grant—safeguarding of assets to prevent loss, damage, or theft.

“It’s unfortunate that this is happening…we expected them to do their job and we are just doing our jobs,” said Muña in an interview with Saipan Tribune last Tuesday. “…[KCHC] made a decision to close the clinic, we just acted on that. We have to make an arrangement with the Human Resources Services and Management [the grantor] to return these items.”

Vincent Castro, the former KCHC executive director and now KCHC CEO, told Saipan Tribune yesterday that the clinic closing from April 27, 2018, to April 30, 2018, was for “staff training.”

“We still saw patients that day,” said Castro.

Both KCHC and CHCC were scheduled to meet last Monday but the result of the meeting has yet to be affirmed.

In a statement, KCHC board chair Velma Palacios said that KCHC would be proposing a collaborative memorandum of understanding with CHCC.

In a copy of the MOU that Saipan Tribune obtained late last night, it proposes that CHCC and KCHC share their services. KCHC would request CHCC to be responsible for a vast number of healthcare services, including immunization; HIV/STD prevention; family planning; radiology services; laboratory analysis; staff training; collaborative diabetes outreach; labor and delivery services; and many more, while KCHC will offer CHCC their cooperation with current and future public health projects; help provide documentation for medical coverage clients; help provide medical records free of charge; help provide services for indigent patients according to HRSA project objectives and guidelines; and assistance with final reporting requirements and transitional needs for the current HRSA grant ending April 30, 2018, among others.

“Recognizing the shared goals between KCHC and CHCC, both parties seek to leverage each other’s respective strengths, experience, technologies, methodologies, investments, and resources (both human, in-kind, and monetary) to pursue a broadly scoped service focused on supporting clinical services that advance the respective missions of both organizations,” the MOU states.

In an email from Palacios, she said KCHC does not expect an immediate response from CHCC.

“Our intent is for KCHC to present the MOU for consideration. We are open to any changes to the MOU. CHCC did indicate they don’t have MOUs with private clinics,” she said, adding that the MOU is similar to when they were co-applicants with CHCC.

In a previous statement from KCHC, the MOU seeks to “strictly” establish collaboration and nothing more with CHCC.

“KCHC will not request any monetary or direct staffing support from CHCC,” said a previous KCHC statement.

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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