16 Mar 2012

American Samoa hospital officials defend collections

11:45 am on 16 March 2012

Medical Center officials in American Samoa say only a small percentage of the US$16 million in accounts receivable is collectable because, among other things, most patients pay only a $10 facility fee.

Hospital officials were drilled yesterday by the Senate Investigative Committee as to why no serious efforts are put in place to collect the large amount of money that could help the cash-strapped medical center.

The LBJ chief executive officer, Mike Gerstenberger explained that the gross total of accounts receivable is $16 million and about 60 percent of that amount will be written off.

He says that if the master price for a service, like an EKG, is $100, the patient pays only the required facility fee of $10 and the balance - or $90 - is written off.

He did acknowledge that there are some old receivables that can be collected but says the hospital did do a good job in collection.

Mr Gerstenberger says collection has been improved since the revamping of the Business Office last year.