Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he and Governor Togiola are working closely together to solve the medical crisis at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center.
“It recently came to my attention that LBJ did not have critical medicines and supplies,” the Congressman said. “In a letter to the Governor dated April 1, 2005, I expressed my concern and, in response to this emergency, informed the Governor that on March 29, 2005 my office made contact with the Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Supply Service Center (SSC) in Perry Point, Maryland and cleared the way for American Samoa to reestablish a relationship with the SSC to purchase medicines and supplies at government cost which will save ASG millions of dollars over time.”
“The SSC informed my office that it supplied medicines to LBJ in the past (prior to Governor Togiola taking office) but the relationship went bad when ASG purchased over $500,000 worth of medicines and then failed to pay its bill in a timely manner. According to the SSC, it took ASG more than 5 years to pay what it owed to the SSC.”
“Given that this incident took place before Governor Togiola’s administration, the HHS SSC said that it would be willing to reestablish a relationship with ASG and once again provide LBJ with the medicines and supplies it needs. However, ASG will be required to pay in-advance for its medicines,” the Congressman said.
“On March 30, 2005, by way of email, my office informed the Governor’s legal counsel of this option and, in a letter dated April 1, 2005, I provided the Governor with the name, address, phone and fax for the Director of HHS SSC. I also enclosed copies of letters which I wrote to the Director of HHS SSC as well as a letter I sent to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals requesting a humanitarian donation.”
“Of the $23 million American Samoa currently receives from the federal government for the operations of its local government, Governor Togiola and I have also agreed to set aside $2 million on an annual basis for the purchase of medicines and medical supplies from the HHS SSC at government cost. Hopefully, this will prevent serious medical emergencies like this from happening in the future and I am hopeful that Congress will support our request for this set-aside,” the Congressman concluded.