14 Sep 2006

LBJ Hospital in American Samoa says fees will rise again if the government doesn't forgive debt

2:04 pm on 14 September 2006

The Chief Financial Officer of the LBJ Hospital in American Samoa, David Deprin, says he does not believe patients will delay treatments because of the implementation of new fees.

From November, there will be new charges for X-rays; some mortuary services and fees for certain medical supplies will be adjusted, along with changes to dental charges.

Meanwhile, Mr Deprin says the hospital has again asked the Fono to cancel repayment of a 5 million U.S. dollar loan that was approved in 2004 to pay outstanding debts.

He says despite the hospital making a surplus last year of half a million dollars, he has not accounted for the interest repayments in this year's budget.

Mr Deprin says if the debt is not cancelled, fees will once again be raised.

"If I did have to put expenditure into the budget, I would need to increase fees in some way to offset that. The people here in American Samoa deserve quality healthcare and if the government can forgive debt to the hospital it can then proceed on a better footing to give that quality care to the people"

The Chief Financial Officer of the LBJ Hospital, David Deprin.