20 Jul 2009

Northern Marianas losing doctors to Guam

9:08 am on 20 July 2009

In the Northern Marianas, the Medical director of the Commonwealth Health Center or CHC says the center has lost a number of medical staff to Guam.

Dr Richard Brostrom told the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare that its doctors are moving to Guam as wages are better there.

He says the CHC recruits doctors from Canada and the U.S. mainland.

But he says the problem is that doctors from Canada and U.S. are discouraged by the low salary here.

He says the 85 US dollars an hour that doctors get should be raised to at least 120 dollars, to make the CNMI competitive in hiring doctors.

Dr Brostrom says the CHC has 25 doctors on staff, but it actually needs 45 to be effective.

The Chair of the House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare says he called the hearings after receiving a number of complaints about the CHC.

Ralph Torres says some of the concerns raised were long waiting times and allegations of staff treating some people badly, particularly in the Emergency Section.