18 Mar 2009

American Samoa's LBJ hoping to pay debt

12:08 pm on 18 March 2009

American Samoa's LBJ Hospital will have to wait until the government closes its books for fiscal year 2008 to determine if there's any leftover money to pay a 1.3 million US dollar debt in an off-island referral programme.

The Fono approved the appropriation in 2007 however up until now the LBJ Hospital has not received the money.

The hospital's, CEO Patricia Tindall says the one million US dollars in this year's budget for the off island referral program has been spent, and the hospital is no longer sending patients off island .

Ms Tindall said hospital finances are tight and that's impacting the hiring of critical medical personnel.

"The biggest concern at the hospital concerning staffing is that we need to hire qualified team members. That means everyone from specialist positions all the way down to our radiology techs and pharmacy techs and physical therapists and registered nurses. We have a very difficult time attracting qualified applicants."

Patricia Tindall says the salaries on offer are not enough to lure many applicants.