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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (August 18, 1998 - Samoa News)---The Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center has paid off its debt to Straub Hospital in Honolulu, Governor Tauese Sunia said last Friday.

The payment was made from proceeds of a tax settlement paid to the American Samoa Government (ASG). But the Chief Executive told Samoa News that because of tax laws, he can't reveal the amount, or the company, which settled its taxes owed to the government.

"But the good news is that we have paid off Straub," he said.

Although Straub claimed that ASG owed $4.3 million for off-island medical referral costs prior to October 1, 1997, the Governor said that he signed a payment check for less.

The reduced amount, which he declined to release as part of the discount agreement with Straub, followed negotiations with Straub for ASG to pay less than the $4.3 million claimed.

The Governor said that he is continuing negotiations with Tripler and other health care providers which have filed claims with the government.

"It's promising and as soon as Tripler offers us a sizable discount, we will do everything possible to pay Tripler and other health care providers off," the Governor pointed out.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to samoanews@samoatelco.com.

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