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Board suspends termination of LBJ's top positions

 The American Samoa Medical Care Authority (ASMCA) Board has suspended the initial process by LBJ Hospital CEO Joseph Davis Fleming to eliminate the hospital's top positions which are: Chief Operating Officer/Vice President of Professional Services, Director/President of Nursing, Vice President/Human Resources Director, Quality Insurance Director, Vice President of Plant Services/Chief Engineer, and Director of Care Services.


Samoa News understands that last Friday, the board told Fleming to “suspend” his initial move to terminate the positions.


In response to Samoa News inquiries, Fleming pointed out that “redefinition as it directly relates to the overall hospital reorganization plan until further notice is to provide employees affected by this initial first of many stages in this restructuring process an opportunity to meet with the board to express their concerns and views about the proposed changes to their current positions and current hospital organization.”


He added, “The hospital reorganization process was never intended nor designed to terminate any current staff, but rather to insure that LBJ is organized in the most efficient and effective manner with the right staff doing the right jobs, at the right time, all the time, from top to bottom, insuring that all that is required to operate the hospital in compliance with federal patient safety and quality standards to continue receiving federal funding required to adequately provide high quality health care services to the people of American Samoa."


Fleming said, “The hospital restructuring will be a long, strategic process that will occur in every department at every level from top to bottom, which will also involve reviewing and redefining every position at the hospital as deemed necessary to achieve the highest level of patient care quality, operational efficiency, and long-term financial sustainability that must happen to solve the hospital’s chronic problems that the people of this territory have suffered through for too long.”


He also noted that “obviously it would be silly (especially when every hospital position from top to bottom will be reviewed), to think that we would even consider terminating anyone just because we need to redefine current job descriptions, titles and pay classifications, as well as reassign certain job responsibilities to another position and/or department better suited to perform that task to achieve better performance outcomes if the current system isn’t working.”


The hospital CEO stated that he’s also “distressed and disappointed to see how much misinformation that has been reported about LBJ’s attempts to implement the very improvements that the public has been demanding for many years, which has resulted in unwarranted personal verbal harassment and humiliation directed towards my senior management staff and their families, so I pray and beg that such hurtful actions stop.”


He continued, “They are all committed to lending their God-given talents, education and skills in serving the great people of this territory in a very difficult situation which will take time to improve, so we are all asking for prayers, patience and understanding as we try to do what is necessary to ultimately benefit and improve the quality of life for all people of American Samoa.”


Last week, Samoa News obtained a copy of the letter signed by Fleming and sent to one of the LBJ's top officials which stated that due to the hospital’s continued and pervasive financial difficulties, the hospital board has been forced to take drastic actions, including mandating a reorganization of hospital operations to ensure future visibility of the only hospital in American Samoa. “This reorganization requires elimination of your current position," Fleming wrote.


(See Samoa News July 19 edition for full details)