10 Nov 2017

CNMI hospital would put off rate hike if given higher budget

2:36 pm on 10 November 2017

The main hospital in the Norhern Marianas says it will not push through with its planned rate increases if the Legislature gives it a budget to compensate it for ever-increasing charity care costs.

Empty hospital bed, generic

Photo: 123RF

The chief executive of the Commonwealth Health Center Esther Muña said it needed around $US16 million to cover the costs, which are amounts owed the hospital when patients can't pay their bills.

Muña said the hospital was required under federal law to provide services to people in need regardless of their capacity to pay.

The hospital earlier asked the Legislature for a $16 million budget for 2018, but only $844,933 was earmarked, forcing it to announce rate hikes by as much as 156 percent.