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Senate approves Resolution calling on Gov to reconsider plans for new hospital

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

The Senate today approved in final reading a Senate Resolution calling on the government to follow the recommendations by the local medical experts and allocate the total $300 million of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) capital investment into the healthcare facilities to LBJ Tropical Medical Center and not to proceed with a new health facility.

The passage follows a hearing with the Chairman of the hospital board and the LBJ management. Dr Malouamaua Tuiolosega, during his testimony, is adamant the territory does not need a new hospital. However, there is a need to upgrade the LBJ.

According to the Chairman, several factors went into the recommendation not to proceed with this multimillion project. Doctors hired for the new hospital need licenses to bill the Center for Medicaid Services, where most of the funding for the hospital’s operation comes from, said Dr Tuiolosega.

Dr Malouamaua was accompanied by LBJ CEO Dr Akapusi Ledua, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr James Sunia, Chief Financial Officer Sefanaia Kaumaitotoya, Human Resources Director Dr Rowena Reid, and Executive officer to the Board Dr Jean Anderson.

The Senate Resolution urges Governor Lemanu Palepoi Sialega Mauga to follow the advice of our local medical professionals, doctors and nurses who run our healthcare industry daily.

They urge the Government not to “squander the financial blessings” received through the ARPA program on an unsustainable, unrealistic, unviable “Mini-LBJ.”

It is incumbent on all leaders to be great stewards of the federal funding we have been blessed with. Senators believe there is no need for a new hospital but rather upgrade and take care of our current hospital, the Senate Resolution reads.

In the meantime, the government has proceeded with the tendering process of the new hospital.

Another issue cited by Senator Magalei Logovi’i during the hearing today was claims of alleged fraud by the suspended Chief Medical Officer. The measles outbreak was a fake as its efforts to bring in more federal dollars.

In response, the hospital Board's chairman said the Board were saddened by the CMO claims, which were unfounded. He also apologized to the Senators on behalf of the hospital for Dr Joseph Shumway’s demeaning comments against the government and health officials.

According to Dr Tuiolosega, there are data to back up the measles appearance in the territory. The board cannot sit idle when a hospital official makes outlandish comments.

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