5 Jan 2010

American Samoa legislators query hospital's referral plans

4:12 pm on 5 January 2010

Some legislators in American Samoa say proposals submitted by the hospital to revive the territory's off-island referral programme are inadequate.

The programme was stopped last year after funds had run out, leaving scores of patients with serious illnesses on waiting lists.

The hospital board has submitted ideas to the governor on how to revive the scheme, including a tax earmarked for the programme and raising patient fees.

Our correspondent, Monica Miller, reports.

"I was talking to some legislators and they're saying that's not even going to make any on the amount of money that's needed. The hospital says they need about 5 million US dollars. But some of the views of people about the programme is that it becomes very political, the selection of patients that are sent away. Some lawmakers are looking at instituting by law regulations on how patients should be selected for off island referrals to cut this down."

Monica Miller reporting