13 Oct 2005

Opposition expected to planned increases in hospital fees in American Samoa

11:19 am on 13 October 2005

There's expected to be widespread opposition in American Samoa to steep increases in fees at the LBJ medical centre, the territory's public hospital.

The chairman of the hospital board, Charles Warren, has said that outpatient charges for residents will double from five to ten U.S. dollars a day from November, and double again to 20 dollars from next April.

The fees for residents who are patients in hospital will go from 20 dollars per day to 100 dollars from next April, a five fold increase, and non-residents can expect to pay much more than that.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller says there will be an uproar once people realise the size of the fee increase, and she says the hospital already encounters resistance to its charges.

"It's really hard for the hospital to collect the current fees. I mean, they can tell you that, that trying to collect the inpatient costs, which is twenty dollars for residents and 100 dollars for non-residents, at present, it's difficult for them. So, I don't see how they're going to be able to collect the higher fees."

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, in Pago Pago.

The hospital says it needs to be fiscally responsible which is why the fees are increasing.