ON STATE OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres confirmed that he has received the letter from a concerned doctor about the state of the CNMI’s health care services and that he would be in constant discussion with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board of directors on the matter.
“Governor Torres welcomes the input by the medical staff at CHCC and thanks them for reaching out to him on the matter,” a statement from the administration late last night, read. “The governor continues to be in discussions with the CHCC Board of Trustees regarding issues critical to the hospital and its delivery of quality health care services for our islands’ patients, residents, and visitors.”
Torres through the statement recognized the need of the hospital for more financial backing and has “pledged his support to the CEO and the board that larger legislative appropriation bills will be enacted to fulfill that commitment.”
According to the statement, Torres is continuing discussions with the board regarding CHCC chief executive officer Esther Muña’s financial priorities.
“…[Torres] has expressed his disappointment in the CEO’s lack of financial priorities both recently and throughout the course of the last year, and he has expressed this with the board accordingly. Governor Torres will continue to have discussions with the board regarding this matter moving forward in a responsible manner.”
In a previous press release from the Torres administration, the governor expressed his disappointment with Muña for prioritizing funding of the renovation of an outpatient pharmacy over securing “vital equipment to better serve our patients and community”.
“…That should have been taken care of first, rather than to prioritize the renovation of an outpatient pharmacy when an existing pharmacy is still there within the hospital to provide outpatient services,” Torres said in a statement.
Last Tuesday, CHCC board chair Lauri Ogumoro declined to comment after Saipan Tribune reached out to her through phone.
According to Ogumoro, the board is “working with Torres” on determining plans for the hospital. Asking for further details, she declined to comment.
“I’d rather not comment because the board is working through these issues,” she said.
In an interview with Muña, she told Saipan Tribune that she was not personally asked by the board or Torres to step down from her position. She added she was not willing to.