18 Aug 2011

American Samoa off-island medical budget cut

3:15 pm on 18 August 2011

The LBJ Medical Center in American Samoa has slashed the budget for its off-island medical referral programme to just over half the amount allowed for in the current year.

The hospital's proposed 37.56 million US dollars budget for fiscal year 2012 shows that only 818,000 US dollars is allocated for the referral programme compared to 1.5 million for the current fiscal year, and that amount has already been used up.

Hospital officials are expected to testify next week before the legislature about the budget proposal and will be asked why such a small amount has been set aside for the referral programme.

The bulk of the hospital's operating revenue comes from federal grants, with just over five million dollars in patient charges.

More than half the budget goes on salaries for the 634 staff.