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Hospital Board Solves Money Problems…After Meeting

Sept. 23, 2004 – The Hospital Territorial Board met Wednesday to discuss some longstanding issues, but the biggest resolution came after the board adjourned. Acting Governor and Finance Commissioner Bernice Turnbull; Ira Mills, director of the Office of Management and Budget; Juel Molloy, Gov. Charles W. Turnbull's chief of staff; and Rodney E. Miller Sr., Roy L. Schneider Hospital CEO, came together to come up with a "very viable solution to the financial issue we’ve been faced with," Miller said..
The hospital agreed to reimburse the government of the Virgin Islands $200,000 per pay period, which represents the payroll cost of the health revolving fund.
"We've been paying every pay period for the past few months," Miller said. "We've been showing a track record. We’re looking for the same track record in return. That's the kind of partnership we want to have at the end of the day." Miller said Turnbull agreed to reinstate direct deposit for those employees who get paid from the revolving fund.
In turn, there is also a plan in place to pay the Roy L. Schneider Hospital $3 million that is owed by the government. But in a telephone interview, Turnbull would not confirm that dollar amount. "The government must pay the hospital what is owed. I don’t know what the amount is," she said.
Both Miller and Turnbull agreed the resolution was a positive step. "It was refreshing to work out some of the issues," Miller said.
The financial issue came to a head in May of this year, when Turnbull wrote Miller and Gregory Calliste, CEO of Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix, letters dated May 21 saying that the hospitals had until June 11 to pay outstanding balances, which came to $4.5 million for Schneider and $5.7 million for Luis. "If the outstanding balance … is not paid by June 11, access to the Payroll Module will be denied," she wrote. At that time, Miller maintained that the government also owed millions of dollars to the hospital. (See "Schneider Board Backs CEO in Clash with Government").
Both Miller and Turnbull say there are still issues that remain unresolved, such as getting NOPAs (notices of personnel action) for employees. "The NOPA agreement will have to be worked out," Turnbull said. "We need to see exactly what the status is. Once we get certain information from the hospital, we will have a meeting."
Other issues discussed by the board included updates on cancer programs, the proposed surgical center, an extended care unit at the Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix and nursing issues. Calliste could not be reached for comment on the meeting.
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