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Women’s Hospital Auxiliary not supporting 500% rate increase of LBJ fees

rhonda@samoanews.com

Concerning the LBJ rates, set to be increased this coming Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, Samoa News received a visit from the Women’s Hospital Auxiliary coordinator and public relations representative Helga Lefiti yesterday, to express the nonprofit organization’s concerns about the 500% raise in LBJ fees.

She said, they wanted the public to be aware of their non-support of such a huge raise; but do see a gradual increase that would take into account the current state of the economy, which is very poor. The nonprofit entity sees the increases as going against common sense and lacking in compassion for the people of American Samoa.

Highly concerned, Mrs. Lefiti said she has gone to see Gov. Togiola Tulafono, as well as attempted to speak with hospital officials on the issue, but to no avail.

Sen. Galeai M. Tu’ufuli, yesterday during the Senate session said, that from his research, and from others he has spoken with, it seems the government does not believe that LBJ is faced with a financial crisis and therefore is not taking this issue seriously. They were discussing the bill to meet the hospital’s immediate need, which is to restore the close to $3 million in ASG subsidy not received in fiscal year 2011.

The hike in LBJ fees are necessary, according to the hospital’s CEO Michael Gerstenberger, because the hospital will not be able to meet its second payroll for the month February, and will continue to have financial constraints as help from the government and the Fono is not immediate.

Mrs. Lefiti noted that their organization was formed in 1969, and has always been about helping the hospital to meet its patients’ needs through supplies and equipment donations to the different departments. It has also in recent years stepped in to help the Department of Health in cases of emergency need, i.e. they recently donated towels; as well as the EMS or ambulance service, when they have had no supplies to stock their emergency vehicles.

The Women’s Hospital Auxiliary raises funds for their efforts through a food concession at the LBJ Medical Center, which is managed and run totally by the group’s volunteer worker- members.



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