CHCC says it has not received its FY 2020 allotments

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FOR fiscal year 2020, which ends on Sept. 30, 2020, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. has yet to receive its mandated allotments, CHCC Chief Financial Officer Derek Sasamoto said.

In a presentation to the House Ways and Means Committee on July 13, Sasamoto said these include the $3.2 million that was supposed to be credited toward the outstanding utility bill of CHCC under the FY 2018 Budget Act. The funding source was the Office of the Public Auditor 1% payments made by autonomous corporations.

For FY 2021, CHCC is requesting  $33 million from the central government, but the  Office of the Governor could propose $4.7 million only.

As of June 2020, Sasamoto said  CHCC had an unfunded liability of $487,992 for inter-island medical referrals or IIMR.

He said CHCC received $20,000 from the Tinian delegation, to pay for  air transportation of Tinian patients who were referred to the hospital on Saipan. “We utilize that as instructed for IIMR,” Sasamoto said. “But as you can see, the overall IIMR expense including Rota and Tinian was about $700,000, not including staff time or escort time or overtime pay.”

He said CHCC received another special supplemental appropriation in the amount of $44,800 to pay for IIMR stipends of patients from  Rota. “The funding was essentially a pass-through for us to process the stipend on behalf of the [Rota] delegation. We were not compensated for that cost as well,” he added.

For FY 2019, CHCC received $704,005.44 in local appropriation for operations.

Sasamoto said CHCC applied this amount to medical supply expenses, but he noted that CHCC medical supply costs for the first two months of FY 2019 was over $1 million. The appropriation CHCC received covered only about 1.5 months of  its medical supply needs, he added.

In FY 2019, uncompensated care of CHCC amounted to $18.85 million. “These are the services provided, costs incurred, supplies consumed and others with no corresponding return. It is a pure loss to CHCC,” Sasamoto said. “This condition alone demands high priority for appropriation support.”

He said CHCC does not turn away patients and attends to them no matter their ability to pay. “Every year we ask for support because we do perceive it as a community issue.”

He said even getting 50% of the CHCC requested allotment would “create a tremendous impact for CHCC in terms of meeting liabilities and obligations.”

In addition, he said, CHCC provides services to the Department of Corrections.

“We send the bills, but unfortunately the department has not been able to satisfy its obligation,” which now amounts to over $1.8 million, Sasamoto said.

Moreover, CHCC deals with patients with social issues, he added.

“For example, patients who have no home to return to for various reasons — CHCC accommodates these patients who occupy bed space and need treatment, which also equates to lost revenue.”

In an interview, CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said the health care corporation is investing in different services that they want to provide the public.

For example, in 2019, CHCC established an oncology department.

“We…need to generate the revenue for that [new department],” Muna said. “We're going to…invest in it and make sure that the revenue comes back to us. But a lot of the expenses are really on us. We've been spending on oncology. We've been spending on ENT services and other specialized care [that help reduce] medical referral [costs] because these services are available here.”




November 2020 pssnewsletter

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