Gov. John deJongh Jr. and Sen. Clarence Payne toured the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital on Thursday, discussing its needs with staff one day after the hospital announced it could not meet Wednesday’s payroll until Friday, after the government advanced it funding. (See related links below)
The tour was led by Dr. Kendall Griffith, interim chief executive officer of the hospital, and lasted for several hours, according to Government House.
"One of the reasons for my visit today was to show my support for both the hospital and its dedicated staff and to get a better understanding of the depth of challenges facing the institution,” deJongh said. “I think the community should understand that Juan F. Luis Hospital is operated by good and caring people."
In the statement, deJongh touched on the hospital’s long-term financial issues, its immediate cash crisis and the government’s efforts to help.
"It is vitally important that we stabilize the hospital and medical center, reduce past obligations and increase revenues. One way we have been trying to assist the critical cash flow problem is by providing the hospital with its allocations from the General Fund earlier than normal,” he said.
“We have just done that this month so that payroll can be met. Unfortunately the hospital’s employees will be paid on Friday this week, instead of on their normal payday, but everyone will receive their pay," deJongh said.
The governor expressed his concern and said a plan was in the offing, but gave no details.
"I was impressed with management and staff dedication and their concern about how the hospital’s problems might affect the community’s confidence. I want the Virgin Islands people to know that we are developing a plan of action to address the hospital’s problems and to continue to provide quality health care to the community. This is a situation that has my full attention," deJongh said.