7 Feb 2012

LBJ hospital in American Samoa enforces fee hikes

11:44 am on 7 February 2012

Promised fee hikes and mandatory part payments of outstanding bills at the LBJ hospital in American Samoa, are now being enforced.

The Hospital Authority Board says the increases are necessary because the hospital had not received enough emergency financial assistance to cover a funding shortfall.

The outpatient charge has risen from 10 US dollars to 50 dollars.

Monica Miller says there weren't many patients at the hospital seeking treatment when the fees went up.

"They went into effect at 8 [o'clock] this morning, and all the rates that they had published are in effect. The hospital has said that there will be a sliding fee schedule, for those who can't afford it. But they also have a policy that if you have an old bill, they won't be able to dispense any medicine for those who can afford it, unless they pay 10 percent of their old bills."

Monica Miller says Governor Togiola Tulafono has threatened to

bring the hospital under the government's control if the hospital raised its fees.