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Discontent with Hospital CEO surfaces from board and legislators

Dr. Malouamaua Tuiolosega

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Chairman of the LBJ hospital, Dr. Malouamaua Tuiolosega says the hospital Chief Executive Officer, Moefaauo Bill Emmsley lacks maturity (mu’amu’a) in how he implements his duties as a leader.

Senator Togiola T.A. Tulafono has queried the hospital board as to why the hospital Chief Executive Officer was “not fired” after the nurses walked out and participated in a strike against the hospital management in December 2022.

Togiola made the comments during a Senate hearing this week where Dr. Tuiolosega was accompanied to the hearing by Health director Motusa Tuileama Nua, and LBJ chief financial officer, Fala Sualevai.

Samoa News notes the CEO was overseas and was not present at the Senate hearing. Samoa News made efforts to get comments from Moefaauo but were unsuccessful.

Togiola cited earlier comments made by Director of Health Motusa, that if the nurses from DoH had walked out he would take full responsibility.

The Senator then asked chairman of the hospital why the hospital’s CEO has not taken “full responsibility” after nurses walked out from the hospital.

Dr. Tuiolosega said the board had discussed the issue raised when the nurses walked out and what was reported in the newspaper.

 “This was already discussed with Moefa’auo, when he appeared before the hospital board, where the members expressed disappointment over what had occurred. 

 “It was also uncovered [that] the CEO lacks maturity (mu’amu’a) and it’s certain that the CEO is unclear off his responsibilities,” said Dr Tuiolosega and Togiola interjected, “Why hasn’t he been fired if he is not qualified for the job?

“Why not terminate his services if his educational background is not suitable for the position?” asked Togiola.

Dr. Tuiolosega then replied, that “only Moefaauo had the highest qualifications” and Togiola appeared upset and said “what the …” and then urged the Chairman to continue with his comments.

The chairman clarified the CEO’s qualification is unquestionable but the downfall is how he carries out his job as the CEO.

“His style of how he implements his duties as CEO,” said Tuiolosega.

Meanwhile, Faipule Luaitaua Gene Pan has publicly called for Moefa’auo’s resignation, citing a number of grounds why he should be removed as CEO.

In an interview with Samoa News on Monday, Luaitaua said, there are a number of issues that have occurred since Moefaauo stepped in as CEO and therefore the Board of Directors should take appropriate actions, otherwise not only the nurses will walk out, but the doctors as well.

 “I have received a lot of complaints from nurses and physicians in my district about the morale at the hospital. Also his comments regarding the nurses who walked out and were part of the strike, clearly says that he is not CEO material.

 “The nurses were only asking for what they are entitled to, pay their unused excess leave given that they are not allowed to go on leave due to the shortage of nurses.”

 Last month, the hospital CEO confirmed that salary adjustments and excess leave has been paid out by the hospital, to the nurses — all to the tune of close to half-a-million-dollars.

Moefaauo then said that while the nurses deserved the salary adjustment, however “they were not patient”. He called the strike their (nurses) right, but “uncalled for”.

“It’s not like we woke up last night and decided to give them a raise, no this was all part of our plan,” said the LBJ CEO.

As reported earlier, the nurses submitted a grievance letter to Moefaauo, which included several recommendations including adjustment to the salaries for the Nursing Manager, and entry level salaries for the Registered Nurses; Licensed Practical Nurses; Certified Nurses Assistants and Orderly Clerk.