18 Feb 2012

Renewed rescue efforts for American Samoa LBJ hospital

7:14 am on 18 February 2012

The American Samoa Governor Togiola Tulafono is hoping that before the three million US dollar cash infusion he approved for the LBJ Hospital is used up, the Fono will approve his request for an eight million dollar loan from the ASG Retirement Fund.

This comes as the government and the hospital management are struggling with a prolonged funding crisis.

As part of the deal, higher hospital fees are being rescinded and the planned lay-off of 274 hospital employees has been canceled.

Although the governor's proposal to the fono mentions an eight percent wage tax as one of the repayment measures for the loan, Togiola clarified yesterday the wage tax would be capped at four percent.

Plans are afoot to cut working hours at the hospital and a temporary voluntary cut in pay is being sought.

The hospital says all outpatient clinics will also be temporarily closed, effective March the 4th.

LBJ says it will continue to enforce its new credit and collection policies.