Taufete’e John Faumuina confirmed as newest LBJ board member
The newest hospital board member, Taufete’e John Faumuina was confirmed last week Friday, in a unanimous vote of 14-0 following a hearing before the Senate Health Committee.
Taufetee’s confirmation only needed the endorsement of the Senate, and he will now fill the vacancy on the board left by the recent resignation of board member Velega Savali Jr. After being on the hospital board for a few months, Velega said he realized that his one voice would not be able to change anything at the hospital, as the problems there are ‘deep rooted’.
Prior to the unanimous vote, Taufete’e was filled with advice from Senators, who noted that the hospital has numerous problems, and because Taufete’e has experience there, he should be able to assist them in solving those problems.
During the hearing, Taufete’e thanked Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga for appointing him to serve on the hospital board and he honored the request because of his passion for serving the people of American Samoa. Senator Mauga Tasi Asuega, who chairs the Senate Health Committee, noted that Taufetee’s service is well known in different areas of the government, as he was the hospital CEO at one point and his experience will go hand in hand with being on the hospital board of directors.
Senator Afoa Suesue Lutu echoed Mauga’s sentiments, noting that with the many years of Taufetee’s service, he’s well equipped to serve on this board.
Among the issues discussed, Senator Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono, noted that it’s been four months now that the hospital X-Ray machine has been down, yet it’s an important and delicate diagnostic tool that’s needed for the hospital’s daily operations.
The absence of an x-ray means physicians cannot see and determine the exact problem with many of their patients. “The problem is that physicians are giving medication without knowing exactly what the problem is because the Xray machine isn't’ operational.”
Soliai then requested through the Health Committee to also include Taufete’e in a hearing today of the hospital board regarding issues at the hospital.
In a letter to the Fono leaders, Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga said Taufete’e was the first chief executive officer of LBJ, when the government owned hospital was separated from the Department of Health and became a semi autonomous agency of ASG.
Lemanu says Taufete’e brings considerable practical experience to the board, having served as the CEO for many years. Additionally, Taufete’e brings with him “a broad range of senior experience in government operations” having served as Commerce Department director and head of the Criminal Justice Planning Agency (CJPA), along with his many years of experience at the Health Department.
The Acting Governor stated that the administration appreciates Taufete’e accepting their call to use his extensive experience to work with current members of the board to resolve the many challenges confronting our healthcare delivery system. Taufete’e left his CEO post at LBJ in 2006 after eight years there. He has also worked within DoH and at the Election Office.
In January 2011, he was nominated by then Gov. Togiola Tulafono to serve as director of the Health Department, but the following month, after the House endorsed the nominee, but before the Senate held a confirmation hearing, Togiola withdrew the nomination due to a request by Taufete’e.
In April of 2011, he was appointed by Togiola to head the Criminal Justice Planning Agency. He was a candidate in the 2012 gubernatorial race where he ran for the Lt. Governor post alongside gubernatorial candidate Faoa Aitofele Sunia.