Marianas Variety

Thursday, October 30, 2014-6:26:04A.M.

Last updateThu, 30 Oct 2014 12am

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Rota mayor: Don’t downsize health center

ROTA — The government health center here is already  short of nurses and cannot sustain  the job-cuts planned by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp, Mayor Melchor A. Mendiola said yesterday.

Melchor Mendiola
CHC chief executive officer Juan N. Babauta earlier said they may  have to let go of 12 employees at the Rota Health Center, 12 at the Tinian Health Center and 19 or more at the Commonwealth Health Center on Saipan.

But Mendiola said public health should be the top priority, “and we cannot really come to the point of downsizing the health center.”

If that happens, the health center will be incapable of providing adequate medical care.

Mendiola said he has asked Gov. Benigno R. Fitial, Lt. Gov.  Eloy S. Inos  and the Legislature to try their best to look for funds needed  the Rota Health Center.

“We cannot afford to disable the health center. We must do something and seek any avenue that will prevent the center’s shutdown,” Mendiola said.

He said the Rota does not have the capacity to perform critical medical services like minor surgeries and this is why it has to be more attentive to its patients to prevent their condition from deteriorating.

Recently, he said his ailing brother had to be sent to the Philippines on medical referral but it was already too late.

“We don’t want to come to that point again. So we cannot cut down the standards of services provided by our health center,” he added.

For his part, Rota Health Center resident director Edward Maratita said like other government health centers, they lack funding.

But he believes Rota is suffering the most. He said it has come to the point when they cannot even buy toilet paper, food or drinking water for their patients.

That is why he is thankful to the mayor’s office and many members of the Rota community who are providing the health center with supplies.

Rota, he added, is a small community and everyone knows the situation at the health center.

Maratita said he submitted a $1.2 million budget proposal to Babauta, but he expects Rota to  receive a lower amount.

He said the center has a total of eight nurses, six nursing assistants and one clinic attendant.  This number is not enough for the number of patients on Rota so they cannot lose any of their nurses, Maratita added.

If the reduction in force is implemented, he said “we are going to be understaffed and will have to multi-task. That is the only way we can survive.”

The health center’s administrative director, Esther A. Yatar, said it is going to be very hard for them if they lose some of their nurses. Right now,  their nurses work on 12-hour shifts. Rota, she noted, has a bigger facility compared to that of Tinian so it accommodates more patients.

“Quality patient care is the priority at the health center,” she added.