13 Sep 2002

Two Hawaii hospitals close doors to Marshall Islands patients

10:19 am on 13 September 2002

Marshall Islanders are being turned away from two hospitals in Hawaii because the government owes nearly two and a half million US dollars in medical referral fees.

Patients from the Marshalls are no longer being treated at Kapiolani Children's Hospital and Straub Hospital unless they make cash deposits prior to admission.

Hawaii Pacific Medical Referrals, the company that handles medical referrals from the Marshalls, says if 800 thousand US dollars in outstanding medical bills.is not paid by the end of this week it will halt referrals from the Marshalls.

The company also says the Marshall Islands government will have to submit a projected payment plan that will bring it into contractual compliance.

The administrator of the Marshall Islands Social Security Administration, Saane Aho, says her agency paid HPMR 200 thousand dollars earlier this week and the Ministry of Finance was attempting to provide an additional 300 thousand dollars.