15 Feb 2012

Continued tension over American Samoa hospital woes

6:57 pm on 15 February 2012

Staff and patients are waiting to see if the American Samoa Governor will use his executive powers to sack the board of the LBJ hospital which is in a financial crisis.

The board has been tasked with coming up with a new plan to cut spending and prevent the layoff of 274 employees from Sunday.

Our correspondent, Fili Sagapolutele, says the board's plan is with Governor Togiola Tulafono, who was against the hospital's recent fee hikes that saw patient numbers drop.

"The clinics at the hospital are empty, people are rarely going in there unless it's necessary. Getting prescription medication it's $40 a small bottle - it is just too much. And then you have to pay $50 to see a physician in a clinic. And that is a lot of money, and all these people are affected."

Fili Sagapolutele says the governor is also aware of the six figure salaries paid to the hospital's chief executive and chief financial officer.