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    Monday, June 18, 2018-11:14:43P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Muna says CHCC board has not asked her to resign

ESTHER Muna on Tuesday said she has no plans to resign as chief executive officer of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. because no one, including the CHCC board, has officially asked her to do so.

She said, under the law, it is the CHCC board that can tell her to step down.

Asked if she believes she will be told to resign, she said: “I have to look at my options. The board chair [Lauri Ogumoro] and I are discussing things. The reality is I need to do the job. I still have things to do. I have a role, and I have a job to do.”

Esther L. MunaEsther L. Muna

CHCC board members are appointees of Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres who 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.

Dr. David Grauman, CHCC Department of Medicine chief of staff, said the governor approached the board and demanded that Muna be summarily fired.

According to the governor’s office, 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.”

In his letter to the governor, Grauman said “it would be calamitous to [remove Muna] in a disorderly fashion.” He said they “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.”

Muna said the CHCC board should consider the medical staff’s recommendations.

Grauman’s letter, she added, “basically tells the governor that he has to put somebody in the position that is qualified.”

She said “putting someone in this position that is less qualified to replace me, in my opinion, is an injustice to the people of the CNMI.”

According to Muna, her replacement must understand public health issues, and behavioral health issues, among many other things. “The reason why CHCC is what it is and why we have progressed is because there’s been so much collaboration among all the units.”

She hopes that the board will follow the law.

“This position is not an easy one. There are so many layers to this job. We have the board, and that’s who I report to. The other layer is public perception — you’re dealing with members of the community and their health. You are also dealing with a lack of financial resources while trying to ensure the health and safety of the people which is the top priority. It’s a tough job.”

Muna said she is a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week employee. “Even when I am off-island I work 24/7. I deal with all these issues, and they are the things that keep me up at night.”