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Senators move to “proactively” work with Admin to improve LBJ healthcare

Senator Tuiasina Salamo Laumoli
A hearing with top medical officers is set for next week Friday

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Senate President Tuaolo Manaia Fruean says 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 made the comments during Tuesday’s session, citing 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, recently, as well as the resignation of the hospital CEO last month.

In addition, he expressed his concern over the declining health of the people of American Samoa, which results 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.

Early last month, the LBJ hospital board appointed Dr. Akapusi Ledua as Acting Chief Executive Officer. This in light of Moefaauo Bill Emmsley’s stepping down as CEO, only eight months after his appointment to the role.

Senator Tuiasina Salamo Laumoli on Monday says 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 in 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 yesterday. The new LBJ appointments are Human Resources Director, Ms. Rowena Reid and the new Chief Medical Officer, 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 retired physician said the hearing is set for next week Friday and witnesses called to testify are 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.

To date the four hospital officials have had their services terminated at the hospital, Ombudman Reverend Emau Amosa, Procurement Manager Joe Langkilde; HR director, Dr Akenese Nikolao and Chief Financial Officer Fala Sualevai Lesa. Dr Nikolae and Mrs Lesa were given ten days to respond to their termination letters.