14 Feb 2012

American Samoa fono to consider retirement fund loan to hospital

6:51 pm on 14 February 2012

Lawmakers in American Samoa are left to consider whether the Retirement Fund can lend eight million US dollars to help the LBJ hospital.

Governor Togiola Tulafono says the hospital's financial crisis has reached grave proportions and immediate action is needed.

The LBJ's problems stemmed from the government's failure to pay nearly half of the mandated subsidies in the last fiscal year.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, says it's likely the advice of the Retirement Fund Board will be sought.

"It's going to be interesting to see if the Fono is going to go along with that because for one thing they have been very cautious of the financial condition of the Fund and I think they are going to call in the [Retirement Fund] Board to see if the Fund can cover this $8 million dollars that the Governor wants."

Monica Miller says this loan would also have to be paid back with new revenues.

The Governor's other bill introduced into the House of Representatives seeks to return the control of the hospital back to the Department of Health.