Marianas Variety

Last updateFri, 22 Feb 2019 12am







    Wednesday, February 20, 2019-9:22:38A.M.






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Doctor: Governor wants Muna out of CHCC

THE governor wants the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp.’s governing board to fire CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna, according to the chief of staff of its Department of Medicine.

In an email to the other CHCC doctors dated Jan. 12, 2018, Dr. David S. Grauman said:

“As most of you have heard by now, the governor approached the governing board and demanded that CEO Muna be summarily fired. As of this time, they, being of sound mind, have declined. We felt as a medical staff it was necessary to make a statement. We recognize this demand is not based on logic, but emotion and expediency, and realized you cannot fight an emotional decision with logic any more than you can persuade an evangelical Christian of the truthfulness of Islam. So, we were stuck between ‘Atta boy, Boss...I never liked working here anyway’ and the more reasoned response of ‘You gotta be kidding; that is the worst idea since the decision to invade Russia in the winter!!’ ”

Esther L. MunaEsther L. Muna

Grauman said they came up with a letter to the governor which Grauman signed. It was sent to the governor on Monday, Jan. 15, 2018.

In his email to the other CHCC doctors, Grauman said: “Sometimes you have to admit that the plane you are flying is going to crash, and now you need to limit the fatalities. Sometimes you can change history. And sometimes you can buy time, and the winds of politics will blow over and you can keep going. A lot depends on luck. We did our best.”

Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres has expressed disappointment with Muna’s decision to prioritize the renovation of the hospital’s outpatient pharmacy instead of purchasing new pharmacy hoods for its existing inpatient pharmacy.

He was invited, but the governor did not attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the outpatient pharmacy on Thursday.

Variety tried to get a comment from Muna who had been on Guam since Friday for the funeral of her eldest brother.

“No comment for now,” she said in a phone interview on Monday. “I just buried my brother.”

In his letter to the governor, Dr. Grauman said: “All of us deal with the frustrations involved in working in a resource-limited environment, and all of us spend enormous amounts of personal time in improving the healthcare we feel privileged to deliver. At the same time, we reflect on the state of care available only a few short years ago, and feel the need to acknowledge that we would not have come this far without the unique efforts of Ms. Muna.”

He said while they acknowledge that there may be compelling reasons to replace the CEO, they feel it would be “calamitous to do so in a disorderly fashion, and fear that any precipitous action would result in irreparable harm to our immediate function, with loss of professional staff and hospital function a real possibility.”

He said “with these inevitable consequences will come immediate and likely lasting harm to the health of our patients, our community and our island overall.”

Should the governor move ahead with Muna’s firing, Grauman said the search for a qualified replacement should be done in a professional manner. “Candidates for a position of this complexity must have a suitable background and training, with at least a master’s degree in hospital administration.”

He said Muna’s replacement should have five years or more experience in managing a hospital of similar or larger size, and impeccable background and interest.

He said the search should cover, not just the CNMI, but all of the United States “as finding an ideal candidate will take some effort.”

Grauman added, “We absolutely feel that it is unacceptable to settle for lesser qualifications for reasons of expediency or obligation. Our patients, our staff, and our families, deserve the most highly qualified leadership we can possibly find, and we would be honor-bound not to succumb to more petty gratifications. In this endeavor, we would offer to lend our full support and assistance.”

Asked for comment, Governor Torres said he welcomes the input of the medical staff at CHCC.

He said he continues to be in discussions with the CHCC board of trustees regarding issues critical to the hospital and its delivery of quality healthcare services for the islands’ patients, residents and visitors.

He said he understands that more government financial support is needed for CHCC and has pledged that larger legislative appropriation bills will be enacted to fulfill that commitment.

But the governor also reiterated his disappointment with Muna’s lack of financial priorities “both recently and throughout the course of the last year,” saying he has “expressed this with the board accordingly.”

Torres said he will continue to have discussions with the board regarding this matter, “moving forward in a responsible manner.”

With Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa