4 Jan 2010

Plans to raise funds for off island medical treatment in American Samoa

7:42 am on 4 January 2010

The American Samoa Hospital Authority Board has submitted proposals to the Governor Togiola Tulafono on how it can generate revenue so it can re-start the off island medical referral programme.

It's hoped the plan will go the Fono when it meets later this month.

The Board Chairman, Moananu Va, says the Governor had asked them to come up with a revenue generating plan after medical referrals off island stopped last year after the one million dollar budget was spent in the first 3 months.

The hospital board is proposing three measures to finance off island referrals: a higher tax on soft drinks, alcohol or cigarettes, higher inpatient and out patient fees at the LBJ hospital or cuts to staff numbers.

Mr Va says the hospital is in dire financial straits and an earmark tax specifically for it is needed.

He says patient numbers increase substantially each year but the hospital's budget has been reduced.