29 Mar 2005

American Samoa's Governor vetoes bill to buy medicine for hospital

4:47 pm on 29 March 2005

American Samoa's Governor, Togiola Tulafono, has vetoed a bill that appropriates US$500,000 to purchase urgently-needed medicine for the LBJ Hospital.

The local hospital has experienced chronic medicine shortages since the beginning of the year due to financial problems.

Speaking on his weekly radio programme, the governor said that the main reason why he rejected the legislation was that there was no account or fund called the LBJ Tropical Medical Centre Special Fund for Emergency Medication Programme.

According to the bill, this is the account into which the half a million US dollars is to be deposited.

The Governor said it seemed that hospital management had taken a back door approach in dealing directly with the Fono without consulting or informing the administration about their situation.

Togiola said the hospital management had discussed their plan to increase hospital fees but additional funding was never discussed.

The governor said another problem with the legislation is that while the intent of the bill is clear, there is nothing in the body of the bill limiting the use of the money.