Senator Tuiasina expressed concerns over LBJ's budget and operation
Several issues were raised during the last hospital board hearing before the Senate's final session of the year.
The chairman of the Health Committee, Senator Tuiasina Dr. Salamo Laumoli, expressed concerns over the hospital budget even though it had been approved.
He said that it has negatively impacted the hospital as it is "incoherent" and somewhat "incompetent" and also "American Samoa’s healthcare should not be politicized," said Tuiasina.
Chairman of the hospital Committee Tuiasina did not mince words when addressing LBJ’s budget last week of $85 million; despite that it has been approved, Tuiasina said that American Samoa’s healthcare should not be politicized.
He made the comments during a hearing with the hospital’s management present, including the CEO, Dr Akapusi Lendua, and Dr Jean Anderson, advisor to the hospital board.
The lawmakers approved the hospital’s budget at $85 million; before that, the LBJ management appeared before the fono and provided documents with a different figure of $97 million.
In the end, the lawmakers opted to approve the proposed budget for the hospital at $85 million.
Another issue addressed by the Senators was whether the hospital received the subsidy at the center of previous hearings over $4 million that was transferred without proper verification by the Department of Treasury to a bank based in Florida.
Dr. Ledua confirmed they had received all the $4 million-plus, but there are still outstanding subsidies and Medicaid local match pending with the treasury.
Dr. Ledua explained that of the $100 million of ARPA funding for the hospital, $1.9 million was spent on personnel, and $77,251 was allocated for the ICU and Emergency Room projects.
He also elaborated on the $200 million allocated to build the new hospital; over $800,000 has been spent, which was approved by the LBJ, according to the CEO.