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Medical staff reaffirms support for LBJ's chairman and vice chair

Senator Tuiasina Dr Salamo Laumoli

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Medical professionals met with government leaders this past Thursday to reaffirm their support of the current hospital board Chairman and Vice Chairman as well as personnel changes being implemented. 

This was announced by Senator Tuiasina Dr Salamo Laumoli on Friday morning.

Tuiasina went to meet with the governor and was surprised to see doctors from LBJ there with the governor meeting on the same issue. 

Gov Lemanu P. S. Mauga was accompanied by Lt Gov Talauega E. V. Ale during the meeting. Senator Tuiasina said the doctors expressed their support for the changes made by the board under the leadership of Chairman Dr Malouamaua Tuiolosega and Vice Chair Dr Jean Anderson and urged that they remain on the board. 

The Chair and Vice Chairs terms expire at the end of this month. 

According to the Senator, they pleaded with the governor to extend their terms and also to honor the board’s decisions made pertaining to personnel changes at LBJ Hospital. 

Furthermore, the Senator said some doctors were very emotional and shed tears during the meeting. 

Senator Tuiasina said the changes recently made were long overdue and it is what the hospital needs in order to provide better healthcare for the people of American Samoa. 

Last week Governor Lemanu nominated Aifili Dr John Tufa to replace Dr Jean Anderson on the hospital board.

In the meantime, a hearing has been scheduled on Tuesday before the Senate where the hospital board of directors was requested to attend. Senator Tuiasina on Monday said a hearing is warranted for the new management hires at the LBJ and also the issues faced by the hospital at the moment. 

He also wants to hear their plans going forward for the hospital’s operation. 

 “We should give the new management a chance to carry out their duties for the betterment of the hospital,” said the Senator during the Senate session last week. The LBJ new appointments are Human Resources Director, Ms. Rowena Reid and the new Chief Medical Office, Dr Joseph Shumway. 

According to the Senator, there is no need to dwell in the past, but moving forward is vital at the moment. 

The witnesses called to testify are the Chairman of the Board Dr Malouamaua Tuiolosega, Acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Ledua Akapusi, Head of Nursing, Chief Medical Officer Dr Shaumway, Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Health, Motusa Tuileama Nua. 

Earlier last week, Senate President Tuaolo Manaia Fruean said there is a need for the Senate to work with the Governor’s office to ensure that healthcare provided for the people of American Samoa is up to standard. 

Tuaolo cited the need to “proactively work together with the Governor’s office to better the conditions at LBJ Hospital.” 

At the same time, the Senate President also called for the hospital financials to be audited. Another issue cited by Tuaolo is the appointment of a new hospital management team including the Acting Chief Executive Officer, the Human Resources Director and the Chief Medical Officer as well as the resignation of the hospital CEO last month. 

In addition, he also expressed his concern over the declining health of the people of American Samoa, which has resulted in a declining population. “With every checkup, our elderly and sickly have had at our LBJ hospital, their diagnosis has been some form of advanced, terminal sickness, such as cancer, and we need to acquire a viable solution,” stated Tuaolo.