$2.9 Million Fine Against American Samoa Hospital Being Dealt With

Late filing of federal report resulted in penalty, CEO says he won’t allow costly payment

By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (The Samoa News, May 25, 2016) – LBJ Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Taufete’e John Faumuina has confirmed that the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services assessed a $2.9million fine against the hospital and this was due to the delay in sending in their “Cost Report”, however he has also pledged that this matter is being resolved. Taufete’e apparently was not aware of the CMS fine when Samoa News first contacted him for comment.
 
Taufete’e calls upon the public not to panic, as he has it under control.
 
Samoa News received calls yesterday morning regarding a letter being received last week from CMS. The caller, a hospital employee, said that the hospital was being assessed a “huge” citation.
 
The hospital employee who contacted Samoa News was furious that this matter was kept from the CEO, and so the employee contacted Samoa News to get through to the CEO, who said he was not aware of the situation the first time he was contacted by Samoa News.
 
 During the first call, Taufete’e was shocked when asked about the said letter — noting that he had “just had a meeting with his finance people” and nothing like this was ever brought to his attention.
 
Shortly afterwards, Samoa News received a call from the CEO explaining the letter and stating he had just spoken to his Chief Financial Officer, Pauline Gebauer about this matter.
 
The hospital CEO said the matter is being resolved, and explained, “What happened was that the LBJ Finance department and our auditors, Moss-Adams LLP, failed to file our Cost Report on time to CMS, which is supposed to be five months after the close of the fiscal year 2015.”
 
According to Taufete’e the cost report was due in February 2016. He said that LBJ submitted its cost report on April 29, 2016 and it was received by CMS on May 3, 2016.
 
“Since we failed to meet the normal deadline of submitting a cost report, CMS sent a letter informing LBJ of a penalty assessment of $2.9M, which is the amount that CMS already paid LBJ during the fiscal year,” said Taufete’e. He further explained, “Now that CMS has received and accepted the hospital’s cost report, this brings the said penalty assessment issue to rest.”
 
The CEO also wanted to make clear to the public that this is the way CMS operates.
 
 “I hope the public understands that this is the way CMS operates, by using its authority to force the recipients — in this case LBJ — to comply with the rules of the game.” Taufete’e also pledged that he would not allow this penalty to go through because it is too costly to LBJ operations.
 
“We have no choice but to comply. I hope the public will not panic because of this,” said Taufete’e. He also stated in Samoan that he’s used to threats such as these (Ua ou masani i mea taufa’afefe).
 
Samoa News asked Taufete’e for a copy of his response to CMS, however he has yet to provide a copy

The Samoa News
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