DOF’s Atalig: I haven’t seen the letter
Sen. Paul Manglona (Ind-Rota) continues to follow up with the Department of Finance on its obligation to the Commonwealth Health Care Corp. and to medical referral patients on Rota.
In a follow-up letter dated Nov. 25, 2019, Manglona asked again about the status of his request for assistance for Rota’s interisland medical referral patients and their stipends.
“I stated in my letters that these payments were long overdue and these patients rely on their stipends to obtain medical care on Saipan,” he wrote to Finance Secretary David Atalig, adding that he sent two separate letters to the Finance office last Oct. 10, 2019, and Mar. 14, 2019.
Atalig told Saipan Tribune Wednesday that he has not seen Manglona’s latest letter yet.
Manglona noted in his letter that the interisland medical referral stipend program had been suspended since February 2019. He noted that, while he is aware that the reduction in general fund resources in fiscal year 2020 had significant impacts on annual appropriations and public operations and services, funding for interisland medical referral patients do not originate from the general fund.
“These are funded by way of special appropriations from poker fees and annual casino license fees. As I understand, Rota local funds are still available from past appropriations for these medical expenditure purposes,” he wrote.
Further, according to the recently enacted Public Law 21-10, Manglona wrote that the legislation appropriated $65,000 to CHCC’s medical subsistence program.
“I am kindly requesting your office to process the transfer of funds to CHCC expeditiously,” he wrote.
In an Oct. 30, 2019, letter to Atalig, CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña requested for the money identified in P.L. 21-10, which she noted were the $65,000 for Rota interisland medical referral patients’ and escorts’ stipends and an additional $500,000 according to the legislation under the expenditure of the CHCC CEO.