LBJ Tropical Medical Center
Geography
LocationFaga'alu, Maoputasi County, American Samoa
Coordinates14°17′25″S 170°41′08″W / 14.2903°S 170.6855°W / -14.2903; -170.6855Coordinates: 14°17′25″S 170°41′08″W / 14.2903°S 170.6855°W / -14.2903; -170.6855
Organisation
TypeGeneral
Services
Emergency departmentYes
Beds150
History
OpenedJune 6, 1968
Links
ListsHospitals in American Samoa

Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center is the only hospital in American Samoa, and is located in Faga'alu, Maoputasi County. It has been ranked among the best hospitals in the Pacific Ocean. It is home to an emergency room and there are doctors on duty at all hours.[1][2] It is a 150-bed facility.[3] It includes TB, leprosy and obstetric units.[4] The hospital was built in 1968 and is operating under a $50 million budget as of 2017. The executive director is Taufete'e John Faumuina.[5]

History

The government condemned nearly twenty acres for a new hospital in Faga'alu Valley in the 1960s. The total estimated cost of the project was $3.5 million. The Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Tropical Medical Center opened on June 6, 1968. The first admitted patient was a baby about to be delivered. He received the name Lyndon. Soon after its start, the hospital was acclaimed to be the best medical facility in the region. The opening staff consisted of 300 locals and a small cadre of stateside professionals.[6] A U.S. government record stated that in 1969 the number of employees, two doctors and one dentist, "was dangerously low" but that since then more doctors were hired.[7]

A 1971 study found the hospital services offered at LBJ to be compared favorably with services offered in the mainland at health care facilities of comparable size. The government began sending more students for training in New Zealand and Fiji, and nurses for RN training in Hawai'i. New programs in the 1970s offered maternal and child health education, health statistics, chronic and communicable disease control, filariasis control, and mental health. In 1978, the Maternal Child Health and Crippled Children Services were introduced. Renal dialysis equipment arrived and a special unit was organized. It soon became one of the most valuable additions to local healing services as kidney diseases increased. Women's Auxiliary later emerged and provided equipment and other forms of assistance to medical and nursing staff.[8]

On Aug. 23, 1982, the hospital announced new changes to the prices: in-patient, $20 per day; out-patient, $2 per visit; for uninsured patients: in-patient, $201 per day; out-patient, $5.70 per visit. Director of Health Dr. Nofo Siliga claimed the revenues were needed in order to pay for improvements, purchase better equipment, and hire more physicians. The negative reaction was immediate and the Legislature held meetings regarding hospital prices. The Cancer Society joined LBJ in a breast cancer awareness campaign. In October 1983, an updating of the major indicators of territorial health status showed significant improvement in every major area. American Samoans were living longer than ever before, premature deaths were lower, and there was a significant reduction in the incidence of several important preventable diseases. The mortality rate was the lowest of all five inhabited U.S. territories.[9]

Circa 1993 U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye criticized the conditions at LBJ.[10]

In September 2019, it was reported in Samoa News that hospital CEO Faumuina John Faumuina had informed local lawmakers of challenges with recruiting Samoan doctors and nurses. The hospital's proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020 totaled $50.78 million, which is a $68,500 decrease from the approved FY 2019 budget. As of September 2019, LBJ's debt was about $5 million. Its largest revenue sources as of 2019 were $16 million from Medicaid, $8 million in subsidies from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and $10 million from Medicare.[11]

References

  1. ^ Swaney, Deanna (1994). Samoa: Western Samoa and American Samoa. Lonely Planet. Page 161. ISBN 9780864422255.
  2. ^ United States. Congress. House. Committee on Natural Resources. Subcommittee on Indian, Insular, and Alaska Native Affairs (2017). Assessing Current Conditions and Challenges at the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center in American Samoa: Oversight Hearing before the Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs of the Committee on Natural Resources, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Fifteenth Congress, First Session, Tuesday, July 25, 2017. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Publishing Office. Retrieved 25 February 2019.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "American Samoa's only hospital at full capacity". RNZ. 28 November 2018.
  4. ^ Miles, J.A.R. (1984). Public Health Progress in the Pacific: Geographical Background and Regional Development. Springer Science & Business Media. Page 167. ISBN 9789027790859.
  5. ^ "New hospital on the cards in American Samoa". RNZ. 26 July 2017.
  6. ^ Sunia, Fofo I.F. (2009). A History of American Samoa. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. Page 286. ISBN 9781573062992.
  7. ^ Current Problems in American Samoa: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Territorial and Insular Affairs of the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, House of Representatives, Ninety-third Congress, Second Session, Hearing Held in Washington, D.C., April 2, 1974. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1974. p. 61.
  8. ^ Sunia, Fofo I.F. (2009). A History of American Samoa. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. Page 308. ISBN 9781573062992.
  9. ^ Sunia, Fofo I.F. (2009). A History of American Samoa. Amerika Samoa Humanities Council. Page 327. ISBN 9781573062992.
  10. ^ Department of Defense Appropriations for Fiscal Year 1994: Hearings Before a Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, One Hundred Third Congress, First Session, Part 1. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1993. p. 418.
  11. ^ "Lack of local nurses and doctors continues to be challenging at LBJ". Samoa News.

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