Planning meetings are being conducted to prepare for the separation of the  Belau National Hospital ( BNH ) from the Ministry of Health, Minister Gaafar Uherbelau said on Tuesday

In an interview, Mins. Uherbelau said under the new law signed last year, RPPL 11-16,  Belau National Hospital moving forward, will eventually transition under the management of the board, which is effectively known as the  BNH Authority Board.

“So that Act states that the BNH authority will remain within the executive branch under the Office of the President, but will be removed from the Ministry of Health and Human Services organizational structure. So that’s where we’re moving. There’s this preconditions that the ministry is tasked to complete working with the new board when that new board is established or convened, and then we have to plan how we’re going to make that transition,” he said.

He added that  BNH would be run by a hospital administrator that is appointed by the board, and it will be removed from the ministry.

“So right now, as I mentioned, we’re conducting planning meetings with all of our bureaus to see how we can lay out a plan for that transition.”

The aim of the law is to streamline operations and provide more effective management.

The new law, RPPL 11-16,  created a Belau National Hospital Authority to manage and operate the Belau National Hospital, like other semi-independent agencies such PPUC and PNCC.

The law separates the Belau National Hospital from the Ministry of Health and Human Services.  It is to be managed and operated by a Board of Directors consisting of 5 appointed and confirmed members.

The law states, “The Belau National Hospital Authority shall act as that body, guided by the purpose of reducing inefficiencies in hospital management and improving the overall state of health care within Palau.”

In addition, the new Authority will take over the management and operation of the Belau National Hospital from the Ministry of Health and Human Services, “allowing the Ministry to focus on its role in developing primary health care and public health programming to improve the overall quality of life of our citizenry.”

The law sets five preconditions that need to be met before the official transition of Belau National Hospital operations to Belau National Hospital Authority can occur.

The five preconditions include 1) a transition plan, 2) legislative amendments, 3) enacted budget, 4) a feasibility study for outside grant funding continuity and 5) a Report from the Minister of Finance on the outcome of the Compact negotiations and its health-related funding and technical assistance.

After all five preconditions are met, and a certificate of completion is issued, the Belau National Hospital Authority has one year from that date to complete the transition. (Island Times)

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