28 Jan 2014

American Samoa hospital's off-island care under Governor's scrutiny

11:11 am on 28 January 2014

The Governor of American Samoa, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, has ordered the LBJ Medical Center board of directors to find money to restart the off- island medical referral program, which has not operated since 2008 due to lack of funding.

Lolo's directive to the board of the government-owned hospital follows requests for airfare assistance for three critically ill patients whose travel had been approved by the Off-Island Medical Committee.

Lolo says it was disconcerting the patients' families had to finance the airfares and the full cost of their off-island medical care, while the hospital's CEO traveled consistently at the expense of the hospital.

Lolo expressed disappointment the hospital CEO, Joseph Davis Fleming, had hired three people to do the job of one person and the assigned salaries are very high.

He ordered the board to find money to cover the off-island referral program, as well as correct hiring practices.

The governor has asked for a full report, including the latest financial data of the hospital, in two weeks' time.