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House seeks authority to confirm hospital board

Senators in session

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A House bill introduced in the Senate yesterday morning seeks to include concurrence by both houses of the legislature to confirm hospital board members.

The bill says that members of the Board of Directors are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature, thus including the House in the confirmation proceedings.

 “The Board of Directors shall be constituted as follows: two members with extensive financial or business management experience, one member who is an active or retired Medical Doctor, one member who has extensive health care administration, or public administration experience and one member at large.

 “No more than two Directors may have their primary residence outside of American Samoa. No director may serve while also employed by the Medical Center.

“The Medical Director, Chief Executive Officer, and Chief of Nursing Services, of the Medical Center, may serve as an ex officio board members, without vote, at the invitation of the five voting members.

“Upon the effective date of this chapter, the Governor shall appoint five Directors for terms of one, two, three, four, and five years respectively, in order to establish staggered terms.

“Subsequently, the Governor shall make appointments for such periods as will maintain staggered terms, but with no term exceeding four years.”

The bill further states that any vacancy arising during an unexpired term shall be filled by appointment of the Governor.

 “Recess appointments may be made to fill vacancies caused by death, resignation, or removal for cause if the vacancy occurs while the Legislature is not in session.

 “Recess appointments shall expire at the conclusion of the next following regular or special session of the Legislature if they are not confirmed during that session. Incumbents may continue to serve after the expiration of their terms until a successor is appointed and confirmed.

 “The Board shall meet at least once per quarter. A quorum is three Directors. The Board may meet via video teleconference or by telephone. “Board members shall be compensated at the rate of five thousand dollars per year, except the chairperson, who shall be paid six thousand dollars per year. Non-resident board members shall also receive compensation for necessary travel, lodging, meals, and telecommunication expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.”

This is not the first time the House has made the move to be included in confirmation hearings and vote for the hospital board members, however their efforts have all failed over the years, as the Senators rejected the propositions.

Currently required confirmation of the hospital BOD is by the Senate only.