The Gov. Juan Luis Hospital board and senior management called a press conference Wednesday at the V.I. Cardiac Center to announce several donations and to give a brief update on health care improvements mandated by the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Dr. Kendall Griffith, JFL’s chief executive officer, talked about the CMS systems improvement agreement put in place Nov. 20 that gives the hospital nine months to correct discrepancies or lose certification and insurance payments from the federal agency.
“After just three months under the systems improvement agreement, I am happy to report that JFL has continued to make great strides and has worked to improve quality of care at the hospital and refine its oversight and governance processes,” Griffith said.
Working with an independent clinical quality consultant, Synacorp Inc., Griffith said changes in key clinical areas include training on hospital policies and holding regular staff competency evaluations. Griffith said physicians, physician assistants and nurses have been hired, but he did not give any numbers. Media representatives were not allowed to ask questions at the press conference.
Three donations were recognized and applauded by those in the audience. Board member Phil Arcidi presented a check for $50,000 on behalf of Greenleaf VI to the JFL Foundation. Cane Bay Partners VI LLC., a financial services company, donated $25,000 to the pediatrics unit and has promised another $25,000. The third donation was $1,000 from the Human Services Holiday Planning Committee.
Although the private donations were generous, the money is a drop in the bucket of the $10.3 million the hospital needs and has requested from the V.I. government to implement CMS improvements. Emmett Hansen, chief of strategic management and communications, said the hospital administrators have met with several St. Croix senators but nothing has been settled.
Griffith introduced the staff members, including Hansen; the new chief operating officer, Ken Okolo; and the new chief financial officer, Tim Lessing. Okolo’s salary is $200,000 per year, Lessing’s is $185,000 and Hansen’s pay is $95,000 a year.
Griffith also announced that Dr. Mavis Matthew has been made permanent chief medical officer.