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LBJ Board names acting CEO after Moefaauo resigns as hospital head

Dr. Akapusi Ledua
Acting Chief Medical Officer also named

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The LBJ hospital board has appointed Dr. Akapusi Ledua as Acting Chief Executive Officer. This in light of Moefaauo Bill Emmsley’s stepping down as CEO on Friday evening, only eight months after his appointment to the role.

This was confirmed by Vice Chair of the hospital Board Jean Anderson in a statement issued to the media on Sunday.

Hospital security was seen barring entrance to the CEO’s office while the door lock to the office was being changed. Moefaauo was given until 12 noon Saturday to clear out his personal belongings.

 “On behalf of the American Samoa Medical Center Authority Board of Directors, we would like to assure our people that the LBJ medical center is well equipped with necessary nursing staff, medical staff and support personnel to continue to provide quality care to our people.  

 “The Board chose Moefaauo Bill Emmsley to fulfill the mission and vision of the Board, which is to ensure quality health care for our patients and staff and rebuild our LBJ medical center to a healthcare facility that our people deserve.  

 “In order to accomplish the mission and vision of the Board, Mr. Bill Emmsley and the Board unanimously agreed that his resignation was in the best interest of LBJ moving forward,” the statement reads.

On Friday evening the board met and asked for Moefaauo’s resignation after his leadership skills were questioned by the lawmakers, calling for his resignation in the Senate and the House.

According to Ms Anderson, the LBJ Board of Directors will provide more detailed information in a press release this week on improvement efforts, including additional nurses and physicians, who will be joining the team soon. 

 “Good things lie ahead for LBJ Medical Center, and the Board continues to remain dedicated and committed to our people and hospital.”

Last week, Senator Togiola T.A. Tulafono queried the hospital board as to why the hospital Chief Executive Officer was “not fired” after the nurses walked out and participated in a strike against the hospital management in December 2022.

Togiola made the comments during a Senate hearing this week where Dr. Tuiolosega was accompanied to the hearing by Health director Motusa Tuileama Nua, and LBJ chief financial officer, Fala Sualevai.

Samoa News notes the CEO was overseas and was not present at the Senate hearing. Samoa News made efforts to get comments from Moefaauo but were unsuccessful.

Togiola cited earlier comments made by Director of Health Motusa, that if the nurses from DoH had walked out he would take full responsibility.

The Senator then asked chairman of the hospital why the hospital’s CEO has not taken “full responsibility” after nurses walked out from the hospital.

Dr. Tuiolosega said the board had discussed the issue raised when the nurses walked out and it was reported in the newspaper.

 “This was already discussed with Moefa’auo, when he appeared before the hospital board, where the members expressed disappointment over what had occurred. 

 “It was also uncovered [that] the CEO lacks maturity (mu’amu’a) and it’s certain that the CEO is unclear off his responsibilities,” said Dr Tuiolosega and Togiola interjected, “Why hasn’t he been fired if he is not qualified for the job?

“Why not terminate his services if his educational background is not suitable for the position?” asked Togiola.

Dr. Tuiolosega then replied, that “only Moefaauo had the highest qualifications” and Togiola appeared upset and said “what the …” and then urged the Chairman to continue with his comments.

The chairman clarified the CEO’s qualification is unquestionable but the downfall is how he carries out his job as the CEO.

“His style of how he implements his duties as CEO,” Tuiolosega clarified.

According to the Anderson, the Board would like to assure the community that the Board will continue its mission to improve healthcare for our people and efforts to rebuild LBJ medical center into a safe and quality medical facility.  

 “The Board has selected a long time physician [who has served] LBJ for over 20 years, to serve as Acting Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Ledua has demonstrated quality leadership and dedication and compassion to our people and to LBJ Medical Center. 

“The Board looks forward to working with Dr. Ledua as Acting CEO.

 “It is with great confidence and honor to also inform our people that the Board has designated a newly hired physician, Dr. Joseph Shumway to serve as Acting Chief Medical Officer. 

 “Dr. Shumway brings to LBJ Medical Center extensive qualifications and experience, which will be a valuable asset and assist in accomplishing our mission to provide the best quality care for our patients and our staff.”