Torres backs independent KCHC


Gov. Ralph DLG Torres meets with the Kagman Community Health Center board of directors. Standing: Matt Gregory, Terry Aldan, Dr. Katherine Elstub, Tom Thornburgh, George Cruz, Vince Castro. Seated are Mako Torres, Torres, and KCHC board chair Velma Palacios.

A week after acquiring a grant from Health Resources and Services Administration and expressing independence from the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the Kagman Community Health Center board of directors met to discuss the center’s future while undergoing transition.

Gov. Ralph Torres also met with the KCHC board of directors last Tuesday and emphasized with them that he will not allow health services to the clinic’s 5,000-plus patients to be disrupted.

Torres stressed the importance of maintaining health services without disruption and initiated several actions to ensure the transition of KCHC from a public co-applicant status to a non-profit entity.

Almost 4,000 patients from all corners of the island depend on KCHC’s healthcare services.

Contrary to the impression of most, KCHC does not only cater to Kagman residents. The top 10 villages where its patients live are Kagman 3 with 1,490 patients, Kagman 2 with 562 patients, Dandan with 363 patients, Kagman 1 with 283 patients, Koblerville with 262 patients, Capital Hill with 240 patients, San Vicente with 221 patients, Garapan with 154 patients, Chalan Kanoa with 153 patients, Papago with 147 patients, and San Antonio with 113 patients.

The KCHC board, headed by chair Velma Palacios, said in a statement that it believes in protecting the rights of all the people in the CNMI to have access to high quality healthcare.

“As a non-profit entity, the health center provides charitable services to the community, including the uninsured and those in need,” she said. “Services include family care, women’s and children’s care, veterans care, and care for the chronically ill and elderly.”

Palacios said that KCHC is fully funded by the federal government and program income that it generates independently.

“The HRSA Health Center Programs award was made to the KCHC following an open service area competition. Any party was free to apply for the funding with an appropriate application,” she added

The new HRSA grant awarded to KCHC, leaving out co-applicant CHCC, spurred disruption last week, especially at a time when the old HRSA grant is expiring on April 30, 2018, where KCHC and CHCC are co- applicants.

Torres pledged to the KCHC board that he will convey to the CHCC board his support of the KCHC and to ensure that the transition moves along as smoothly as possible.

Bea Cabrera | Correspondent
Bea Cabrera, who holds a law degree, also has a bachelor's degree in mass communications. She has been exposed to multiple aspects of mass media, doing sales, marketing, copywriting, and photography.

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