Marianas Variety

Last updateThu, 23 Nov 2017 12am

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    Wednesday, November 22, 2017-8:32:41P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Senator Quitugua says CHCC should improve services to reduce medical referrals

SENATOR Justo S. Quitugua said the services at the islands’ only hospital should be improved to reduce the number of patients referred to off-island hospitals which, he added, costs the CNMI millions of dollars each year.

Justo S. Quitugua
During the Senate budget hearing for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. on Thursday, Quitugua noted that its medical referral office is spending “a lot of money.”

Last year, the office received $4 million but said it needed $8 million. The office said an average of 800 patients is sent off-island each year.

Quitugua asked CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna to hire more doctors and specialized physicians and to invest in technologies to treat patients more effectively — all of which will, of course, require a significant amount of funding.

CHCC said it will need $90 million from the CNMI government for fiscal year 2018 in order for the hospital to be able to hire more specialized physicians, provide more services, including those for indigent patients, and apply for H or other applicable U.S. visas for its nonresident nurses.

For FY 2018, the governor recommended a $2.1 million subsidy for CHCC that is included in the $145.2 million he proposed for government appropriation.

Also on Thursday, senators asked CHCC to provide more information about its plan to run its own pharmacy which, CHCC said, will provide the hospital with more revenue.

CHCC said it intends to open its pharmacy in October and is now working on the licensing process.

“We would like to see their plan to make sure whatever they decide will work and will benefit the people of the CNMI,” Quitugua said in an interview.