14 Jan 2012

American Samoa lawmakers vote to approve hospital funding

9:21 am on 14 January 2012

The American Samoa Senate is scheduled to pass in final reading today a US$3 million appropriations bill to help fund the LBJ Hospital.

The money comes from the Workmans Compensation Fund which currently has about US$4 million.

Meanwhile the Senate President Gaoteote Palaie has introduced two more money bills to provide much needed funding for the hospital.

One appropriates US$800,000 from surplus funds for the American Samoa Government at the end of Fiscal Year 2011 and the other provides US$253,000 that the governor vetoed in the Fiscal year 2012 budget for LBJ.

The bills introduced yesterday have been approved by the Senate Committee of the Whole and are expected to pass in second reading today.

The CEO of the LBJ Hospital Michael Gerstenberger says funding from the US Department of Interior has helped somewhat but if money promised by the government doesn't come through very soon, they may be forced to increase hospital charges which had been delayed from December 24.

The rate increase would hike outpatient visits from $10 to $50, and fro inpatient stays from $50 to $100 per day.