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LBJ confirms Dr. Saleapaga is no longer employed there

The LBJ Medical Center chief executive officer Mike Gerstenberger has confirmed that Dr. Iotamo Saleapaga is no longer employed by the medical center, while the long time hospital physician says LBJ didn’t want to renew his contract.

Samoa News received reports yesterday morning that Gerstenberger fired Saleapaga — also yesterday morning — after an argument occurred between the pair during a meeting.

Gerstenberger said there was no argument and “unfortunately we cannot comment on personnel matters.”

“I can confirm ”that Saleapaga is no longer employed with the medical center as of yesterday, said Gerstenberger, in a brief phone interview.

Reached by phone late yesterday morning, Saleapaga said there was no argument but “I was trying to make my point” during the meeting with Gerstenberger.

“They didn’t want to renew my contract for two more years and the last contract expired the end of August this year,” said Saleapaga who has been a physician with the hospital for some 30 years.

He didn’t want to comment further, but said he will rest and think about what to do next.  “I feel bad for our hospital patients and that is the bottom line. I still want to serve our people,” he added.

During his years with LBJ, Saleapaga had served as medical services director, head of medical clinic and several years ago served as health director, before the Health Department was separated away from the hospital, and became an authority.

Saleapaga, who is an American-licensed medical internist, first served as Director of Health during the last Coleman Administration, from 1989 to 1993, according to Samoa News archives.