The main health centres in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas have been placed under a state of emergency, less than three months out from the deadline for them to become privately owned.
The declaration covers the Commonwealth Health Centre, as well as the Tinian, and Rota health centres.
Correspondent Mark Rabago says the move was prompted by nearly $3 million US dollars that the CHC had in unpaid bills.
He says it owes vendors of pharmaceutical, medical, and dialysis supplies, as well as food producers.
"Acting governor Eloy S Inos found it important to place the facilities under a state of emergency so as to be able to procure the supplies and pay the vendors without going through the usual routes of paying them and make money available immediately to the centres."
Mark Rabago says it's hoped that when the CHC is run as a private corporation it will operate more efficiently.