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Last updateSat, 25 May 2019 12am







    Saturday, May 25, 2019-9:05:40P.M.






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CHCC board retains Esther Muna as CEO

THE Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board of trustees retained Esther Muna as chief executive officer of the CHCC.

The board convened on Thursday evening in the CHCC conference room to vote on an evaluation of Muna.

Board chairwoman Lauri Ogumoro and members William Cing, via phone patch, and David Rosario voted to retain Muna while board member Leticia Reyes voted against it.  The other board member, Dr. Larry Hocog, did not attend the meeting.

In an interview, Ogumoro said they used the American Association CEO evaluation tool in assessing Muna’s performance. “Her score, based on the evaluation tool, says that she meets most of the expectations,” Ogumoro said.

It was the first time that the CHCC governing board evaluated the CEO.

“It will be an annual process. This sets a foundation for it,” Ogumoro said.  “Most of us agree that the CEO is working very hard, but there is always room for improvement,” she added.

“Our job now is to [see to it that she works on the] areas she can improve and work with her deficiencies,” Ogumoro said as she noted that Muna has “overwhelming support” from her staff.

“The challenges she faces are great — running the hospital with minimal financial support and overwhelming uncompensated care cost,” Ogumoro said.

Yet Muna has accomplished so much for the hospital, Ogumoro added. “She has strengths and she has weaknesses just like all of us. I’m sure she can handle constructive criticism so she can raise her score in future evaluations.”

Before the board went into executive or closed-door session, Ogumor allowed members of the public to address the board. Most of the people who attended the meeting were doctors and other hospital staff.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation board of trustees met on Thursday to vote on Esther Muna’s retention as CHCC CEO.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. LirioThe Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation board of trustees met on Thursday to vote on Esther Muna’s retention as CHCC CEO. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

Dr. John Doyle, internal medicine physician, said he witnessed how the hospital improved under Muna’s leadership.

“When I first got here, five years ago, there were only three of us in the medicine department. The hospital has gone from being what everyone perceived as a bandage station to a fully functional hospital.

“We don’t have specialists here, we never will. This island can’t afford them. But we can take very complicated patients on a daily basis. We have a fully functioning ICU,” he said, adding that all this occurred under Muna’s leadership. “The fact of the matter is she has done it without the money.”

Doyle said Muna deserves to get credit for what she has done in the hospital. Instead, “what she gets is controversy. The Legislature won’t give us any funding and she can’t get something done because she doesn’t have the money. That is not in her control. I cannot picture anybody that could have done what she did. I’m truly amazed by it. I think it is time to recognize what she has done for the hospital.”

Dr. Philip A. Dauterman said Muna inherited a hospital that was in horrible condition. “She managed to turn the hospital around, a 180-degree turnaround from 2013,” he  added.

For his part, hospital services director Jesse Tudela asked the board to acknowledge Muna’s performance.

But he added that her weakness might be the hospital’s financial system.

“The hospital needs to have a new tool for its financial system…. Please don’t forget that when it comes to this weakness, she probably does not have the tools, one of which is the JD Edwards financial system,” Tudela said.

In an email to Variety, Muna, who was off-island, said she was grateful for the trust and confidence given to her by the board and the hospital staff.

“I look forward to receiving the feedback of my performance and I will certainly be proactive in improving it,” she added.