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LBJ subsidy up to date for FY 2012

The government is up to date with paying subsidies for the hospital for Fiscal Year 2012 according to Treasurer Magalei Logovi’i during a hearing held on Monday about the loan agreement between the hospital and  the government for use of the $3 million from the Workman’s Compensation Account.

It was confirmed by hospital CEO Mike Gerstenberger, who said on Monday that the last payment was made in February and the subsidy payments are made on the 5th of every month.

The hearing was held before the Senate Hospital Committee chaired by Senator Galea’i Tu’ufuli.

Magalei told the senators that the government was not able to pay any subsidies for fiscal year 2011 to any semi-autonomous agency, like the American Samoa Community College, the LBJ hospital, and the American Samoa Power Authority due to the lack of funding. 

“If we pay the subsidies that means there will be no paychecks for any ASG employees, and no one likes it if they don’t receive their paycheck,” he said, adding, “you (the lawmakers) — and even I — want to get paid.”

(On Thursday following the hearing, the hospital CEO advised Samoa News that ASG had made their subsidy payment for March 2012. However, he reiterated that there is still subsidy left unpaid from FY2011.)

When discussion turned to the $3 million loan from the Workmen’s Comp account, Senator Fuata Dr. I’atala told the treasurer that he was appalled to learn that the $3 million was being paid in pieces to LBJ. He said that he wants the full $3 million paid to the hospital right now.

“You are creating and turning a short term solution into a long term problem... that is the bottom line." he said, adding, “I am surprised that you are doing this, because the Senate turned over every rock in order to come up with the $3 million. And, understanding from your own testimony, the money is available and you can give it today; so why not give it?”

The Treasurer responded that he was unaware of the negotiations for the loan between the governor and the hospital — and it was not his intention to prolong the problem — adding that he, too, would like to resolve the problem at the hospital.

Magalei told the Senators that he was told by the governor to just pay $1.5 Million to the hospital. However, the Treasurer noted there’s enough money in the Workman’s Comp account to pay the remaining $1.5 million as well.