House Health Committee probes EMS funding

The CEO of the LBJ Hospital says $1 million that the Governor directed Treasury to allocate for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was never received by the hospital.

According to Moefaauo Bill Emmsley, Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga gave the instructions to Treasury about the $1 million transfer during a meeting to discuss interim funding for EMS.

The CEO and members of the Hospital Authority Board were testifying at a hearing of the House Health Committee last week, discussing overtime and operations funding for the EMS, medical staffing and other issues pertaining to the hospital.

Under an executive order by Governor Lemanu, the EMS was separated from the LBJ Hospital and placed under a new agency, the Department of Search and Rescue.

The Governor submitted a budget for the new department in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget bill, however, the Fono, citing that bills to establish this new agency, as well as the Department of Corrections, had not been approved, reverted the budgets for the two departments back to LBJ Hospital and Department of Public Safety.

The LBJ CEO told the hearing that funding for EMS salaries was included in the first quarter budget for the hospital, to help with transitional costs.

But there was no funding included for supplies, overtime and other operations costs. This has forced EMS staff to fork out for gas and supplies and working overtime without any compensation.

So who’s at fault?

Here’s an excerpt from the House Health Committee hearing, with Rep. Luaitaua Gene Pan pressing for an answer from the LBJ CEO Moefaauo.

Play Audio: Gene-bill