23 Dec 2011

Watchdog group promises action over American Samoa hospital's rates rise

5:56 am on 23 December 2011

A public watchdog group in American Samoa, Common Cause, is threatening to sue the LBJ Medical Center if the hospital goes ahead with its new fees this Saturday.

Common Cause vice president, Ben Te'o, says delaying the increases will give the public some breathing room to get through the holiday season and to allow the Fono time to sort the hospital's financial situation.

He says if the government released the three point five million US dollars in the operating grant it owes the hospital it would solve the immediate problem.

But Mr Te'o says in the absence of such a move Common Cause is planning legal action to force the hospital management to stop the increases.

"We are circulating the petition for everyone to sign. If the chair and the CEO will not delay or postpone the fee increase we are looking at filing an injunction stopping the hospital from doing that."

Common Cause wants an audit of the hospital's financial state and recommendations for appropriate fees.