28 Oct 2016

CNMI could lose nurses to foreign worker cap

7:53 am on 28 October 2016

The Northern Marianas could lose more than 30 nurses after a cap on foreign workers was reached just weeks into the new fiscal year.

Commonwealth Health Care said the nurses, along with several laboratory and radiology workers could be forced to leave next year now the cap on transitional non-immigrant worker visas had been reached.

It's chief executive Esther Muna said the nurses from the Phillipines do not qualify for registered nursing visas as they only have two year degrees.

She said it would affect the health of people in the CNMI if the nurses go.

"We will just have to cut some of the services that we provide and ensure that the services that are critical have the nurses that they need to ensure patient safety and high quality care."

"The bottom line is we need to keep our nurses because you just can't have a health care system without them," she said.

Esther Muna said they are working with the authorities on alternatives to keep the nurses and she is hopeful a solution can be found.