Faipule call for detailed report and inquiry into reorganization at LBJ
Chairman of the House Hospital Committee, Maugaoali’i Leapai Sipa Anoa’i is addressing concerns raised by House members last week over the abolishment of top hospital positions by requesting from the LBJ Hospital CEO Joseph Davis-Fleming a detailed report on the recent reorganization and restructuring of the LBJ Medical Center, in a letter sent on Monday.
The Fagatogo faipule pointed out in his letter that much has been said and documented about the recent release of top positions at the LBJ Medical Center, and it is certainly a concern that was raised in the Fono. “It is the position of the respective law makers and the Fono that an inquiry into this matter should be conducted."
“However, what I surmise to be their primary concern [is] the haste by which the changes were made and the lack of input afforded to all levels of operation for the new make up of the Hospital Authority.”
The faipule further pointed out that lawmakers appreciate the CEO’s efforts and that of the Hospital Board in addressing some of the problems of employee accountability and the restructuring of staff and manpower.
“Please also understand that it is the Fono’s intent to work with you and the Board to try and resolve problems that continue to beseech the LBJ Medical Center. However, the release of these employees I find this extremely disconcerting, as some of these employees have dedicated their entire career serving the LBJ Medical Center. Having them reapply and prove their eligibility is not only offensive, it is inequitable.”
As reported in Monday’s edition, the hospital CEO told Samoa News that the hospital Board has suspended the initial process 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. (Please see full story in Monday’s edition)
Maugaoalii also pointed out in his letter that in order to properly respond to his colleagues and the many questions and complaints received, he’s requesting that the CEO provide the following information: 1) the reason behind the restructuring of positions; 2) the reasons for the change in top positions; 3) the salaries that these positions were paid; 4) and the standards and process, including position descriptions, for the new position/titles.
“I am quite sure that you can appreciate the position of the Fono and the public concerns that were raised regarding this matter. Your prompt response to this request is greatly appreciated.”
Last week, Representative Pulelei’ite Tufele Li’amatua Jr during the regular House session appealed to the hospital committee that— given the seriousness of the issue at the hospital —the Fono should look into it.
The faipule pointed out the position held by Sa Mavaega (Vice President of Plant Services/Chief Engineer) is literally the backbone of the hospital in carrying out the maintenance work and other critical areas of the hospital. Among his responsibilities, Mavaega was also overseeing the Emergency Medical Services.
Pulelei’ite noted that a hearing should be held on this matter given its seriousness.
Speaker of the House, Savali Talavou Ale, responded by saying that the matter should rest with the hospital board, and lawmakers should allow the hospital board to carry out their duties.
He suggested that maybe, at the time of the budget hearings, the hospital officials could be questioned on this matter. In the meantime, allow the board to carry out their duties, said the Speaker.
SANDRA KING YOUNG
In other hospital news, Chairperson of the hospital board, Sandra King Young informed Samoa News that she is still LBJ Board Chair until this Thursday.
Her comments come after being questioned by many people asking if she has stepped down. Young in an email answered this question by saying, “When I have called a special meeting for me to officially step down, present my exit report and transition to the new interim chair whoever that may be."
“Velega was confirmed as a member of the Board to replace my seat, but not the chairmanship," she stated.
“The chairmanship will be elected by the board at a future date when the remainder of the board are all confirmed.”
Velega was confirmed in the Senate as a board member last week Friday.