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CUC board: Disconnect CHCC power starting Sept. 8

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THE Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board on Thursday decided to disconnect the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. from the CUC power grid for six hours daily due to the failure of CHCC to pay for its utilities.

After the board unanimously approved the motion introduced by CUC board chair Miranda Manglona to implement the disconnection policy, she directed CUC Executive Director Gary Camacho to begin the disconnection on Sept. 8.

CHCC will have to generate its own power for six hours each day.

“We continue to suffer from this pandemic,” Manglona said. “However, we must move on. We must keep our corporation afloat. We have employees. We have an obligation to our customers, which is to provide them with water and power.”

Asked about the hospital patients who may be affected by the daily power disconnection, Manglona said: “We have tried every effort in the past years and past months to try to get  CHCC to adhere to their commitment. But they have not done their work.”

She noted that after CUC demanded at least a $5 million payment, CHCC paid $2.5 million it obtained from the administration in July.

But CHCC still owes CUC $35 million, Manglona said, “and they have not done anything to pay it, so for us to move on we must act.”

 

The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. board chaired by Miranda Manglona holds a special meeting, Thursday, to discuss the inability of the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. to pay for its utility bills, which now amount to $35 million. Photo by Junhan B. Todino

However, if CHCC will make a payment before Sept. 8, the CUC board will immediately hold a special meeting to reconsider its decision, she said.

Manglona wants the CUC management to deliver the letter of disconnection today, Aug. 21, to CHCC.

“The CUC board remains firm in its demand and will stand by its letter informing CHCC of the consequence of non-payment of its obligations,” she said.

CHCC officials said it cannot make timely payments to CUC because it is underfunded and yet must provide uncompensated care.

CHCC also said that daily six-hour power disconnection “is unrealistic because…that will compromise the whole operation of the hospital, patient care and patient safety.”

CHCC said the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services or CMS — the biggest payer of the corporation — requires that the hospital have a backup generator. “We can’t use a backup generator to be the main source of power,” CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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