10 Feb 2012

American Samoa governor against fono move on hospital woes

4:12 pm on 10 February 2012

Governor Togiola Tulafono has told an American Samoa cabinet meeting he finds a bill just passed by the Fono to help resolve the financial crisis at the LBJ Hospital unacceptable and will not sign it.

Cabinet members said the governor's main concern is the source of funding for the three million US dollar financial relief package for the hospital which is the Workman's Compensation Account.

The Account covers claims by government employees who are injured or fall ill due to their jobs.

He says some of the claims stemming from the 2009 tsunami have not been paid.

The bill approved by the Fono today says the three million will be loaned and paid back with a two percent increase in the wage tax for all wage earners.

The governor has told hospital leaders to stop a plan to dismiss 274 employees but he hasn't said if he would be providing emergency money to the hospital.

The CEO of the LBJ Hospital Mike Gerstenberger says the hospital will run out of funds by February 19th.