March 11, 2012
What will it take until the employees decide that enough is enough? Their positions are clearly unstable, as the hospital is on life support and getting closer to death even though a state of emergency was declared.
The Marianas Variety reported that the insurance companies are demanding payment in full from employees for their insurance premiums even though the government has already deducted the fees from their paychecks. The article stated that CHC personnel received letters from the Government Health and Life Insurance Program stating:
“THIS LETTER IS NOTICE THAT YOUR HEALTH AND/OR LIFE INSURANCE(S) WILL BE CANCELLED IF YOU FAIL TO REMIT THE SPECIFIED PAYMENT TO THE GROUP HEALTH AND LIFE INSURANCE TRUST WITHIN FIFTEEN DAYS OF THE DATE OF THIS LETTER,” shouted the first page in bold, capital letters.The specified payment represents 100% of the overdue employer and employee premiums for the last seven pay periods, according to the article. Did the GHLIP also send a threatening letter to the CHC?
GHLIP and Retirement Fund Administrator Richard S. Villagomez signed the letter and furnished copies to Gov. Benigno R. Filial, CHC CEO Juan N. Babauta, CEO–CHC and the Retirement Fund’s board of trustees.
What happened to the U.S. Department of Labor investigating the unpaid wages and benefits? Like too many agencies in the CNMI, they too appear to move in ultra-slow motion. Nurses from Rota and Tinian complained to this U.S. agency years ago concerning nonpayment of wages.
Further complicating the situation is the fact that the Marianas Public Land Trust, which was said to be negotiating a loan for the bankrupt hospital appears to be backing away. Why? Because the CEO hired Alvaro Santos as the CHC's new chief financial and administrative officer. Santos was an MPLT board member and voted on giving CHC the loan, creating ethical questions.
Another questionable CHC hire was the newly hired medical supply officer who is said to be the first cousin of CEO Juan Babauta.
I am not sure if there are many employees of the CHC that can afford to just walk away. But the way things are progressing (or not progressing) it looks like the hospital will be shutting it doors soon and they will have no choice. They should sue before they leave.