‘Not so fast…’

A lawmaker who opposes an increase in the Commonwealth Health Center’s room rates believes the increases are not official yet as the hospital’s governing board has yet to vote on it.

Sen. Teresita Santos (R-Rota), who chairs the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, told Saipan Tribune yesterday that “nothing [is] set in stone” yet, despite earlier reports of room rate increases at CHC.

She said she was able to discuss the matter with Lauri Ogumoro, board chair of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., which runs CHC, after “receiving numerous calls from concerned citizens.”

According to Santos, Ogumoro indicated that the CHCC board has yet to take action on the matter.

“Thus, nothing is set in stone until the [CHCC] board of trustees meet…to review, discuss, adopt, or approve or disapprove the proposed rate increase,” she said.

Santos added that she also talked with Rep. Jose Itibus (R-Saipan), who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Health.

“… We have decided to defer any action pending the [CHCC] board of trustees’ decision on the proposed rate increase,” she told Saipan Tribune, noting that the CHCC board is expected to meet this Thursday to discuss the increases.

In a Monday news statement from CHCC, the corporation informed the public as well as insurance providers that it has updated its fees and charges for room and board.

The increases in fees and charges—at least 21.42 percent in increases—were described in the statement as “necessary to keep up with the increasing costs of healthcare services in the CNMI.”

The statement noted that the last adjustment of fees and charges date back to last 2012.

In the latest round of increases, the highest increase is on a semiprivate room and board, with a per-day-fee of $2,800 as opposed to the previous $1,090. This is a 156.88-percent increase compared to the previous rate.

The lowest increase percentage-wise went to the private room and board rate, or the isolation room, which now costs $2,550, as opposed to its previous per day rate of $2,100. The fee saw a 21.42-percent increase.

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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