17 Feb 2012

Governor reverses American Samoa hospital fee hikes

3:23 pm on 17 February 2012

American Samoa's Governor Togiola Tulafono has announced that higher hospital fees will be rolled back from 8 tomorrow morning.

Following a meeting with the board of the LBJ hospital, he also says no staff will be laid off as announced a week ago by management as it struggled to cope with massive debts.

Togiola has also authorised a loan of three million US dollars from the Workmen's Compensation Account, which will be repaid with a two-percent hike in income tax for all wage earners in the territory.

Our correspondent Monica Miller says this was a compromise decision on the original suggestion by the Senate.

"Because the Senate just wanted the money to come directly from the Workmen Compensation Account but the House had wanted to make sure that the loan was paid back. And it was a compromise that they came to - it would be given in the form of a loan."

Monica Miller reports Togiola as saying the funding will only last up to the end of March or April and the government is still working on a permanent funding source for the hospital.