24 Apr 2012

American Samoa governor warns of LBJ fee hikes

10:40 am on 24 April 2012

The American Samoa governor used his weekend radio program to announce that the LBJ Medical Center will be implementing a new facility fee hike and offered an apology in advance.

Togiola Tulafono says that although $3 million US dollars has been provided to the hospital through a loan from the government's Workmen's Compensation Account, it's not sufficient to cover other costs such as medication, and equipment purchases.

Togiola says he has asked the hospital board to review the cost of hospital services, and implement a fee hike that would be affordable for the community.

He says the hospital needs to raise additional revenue because no new financial aid package, as submitted by his office, was approved by the Fono last month during a special session.

The Senate rejected the administration bills for an $8 million loan from the ASG Retirement Fund and a separate $10 million appropriation funded by a hike in excise tax and business licenses fees.

Senators are hoping that when the Fono returns in July the House will act on a Senate approved bill which seeks a $2 million refinance loan under the government's $20 million loan with the Retirement Fund.