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Last updateTue, 22 May 2018 12am







    Monday, May 21, 2018-7:15:22P.M.






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Muna: Having two pharmacies at CHCC not ideal

COMMONWEALTH Healthcare Corporation Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said their decision not to extend PHI’s contract to operate its outpatient pharmacy at the hospital still stands, adding that no one from the company has approached CHCC to renegotiate the contract.

“As far as we are concerned, they are moving out unless a new discussion is initiated with this office, which has not happened. There have been no discussions between us and PHI. As far as we are concerned it is over by Aug. 14. We’ve made our offer, and PHI has rejected it.”

Muna said having two pharmacies at the hospital is possible if the new board advises it or if Gov. Ralph Torres recommends it, but again, provided that PHI accepts CHCC’s offer.

“However, it’s not an ideal setting. To have two pharmacies in one location is not ideal. Our intention here is to maintain our business and be able to move toward what we are trying to achieve which is quality care and access to medication for those who cannot afford it,” she said.

The negotiations to extend PHI’s contract failed after the company rejected CHCC’s proposal, she added.

“We wanted to increase their rent and they rejected it. With that rejection, they made the decision not to renew. It was not only my decision.”

According to Muna, PHI’s current rate is $79,000 per year, including utilities, security and maintenance.

“We requested an increase. They are paying $200 a day. When you consider the amount of profit, what we came up with is reasonable. If that is going to be changed, then we need to go back to the negotiation table,” Muna said. She declined to say how much CHCC was asking from PHI.

“If we give them an extension, it has to be reasonable. The property belongs to the people so we need to make sure that it will benefit them,” she added.

But she said CHCC’s decision could still change.

“Maybe there will be another negotiation before Aug. 14 and maybe they will be extended. My responsibility is to make a decision based on our offer. I have a responsibility and that is to protect the interests of CHCC and the people.”

Muna said the governor agreed with her that PHI’s rent should be increased, but they disagreed on the amount of the increase.

Whether PHI operations will be extended or not, Muna said they will move forward with their plan to operate their own outpatient pharmacy.

“Right now, our focus is to be able to move forward with our own pharmacy — operated and owned by CHCC.”

Muna said they are on track. “We submitted the application on July 15 and began our enrolment for [the federal] 340B [Drug Discount Program.] We are already working with insurance companies. We are moving forward.”

She is confident that operating CHCC’s own pharmacy will provide services that PHI didn’t have. “They never provided services to Rota and Tinian, for example,” she said.

Muna said there may be a gap from the time PHI leaves to the time the CHCC pharmacy is fully operational, which may happen in October. “But I think it will not deprive anyone of services. The bottom-line is services are still available. We are not stopping PHI from being a pharmacy. They have every right to be a pharmacy. People can still go to them wherever they may be.”