On Monday, former chairwoman and member of the Social Security Administration Johanna Ngiruchelbad submitted her resignation to President Surangel Whipps Jr.  The letter stated that the resignation was effective on the date of the letter, January 20, 2023.

In her resignation letter, Ms. Ngiruchelbad did not state the reason for her resignation but said that she had spent a “great deal of time” thinking about resigning and felt it was now time to do so.

Ngiruchelbad and former administrator Ulai Teltull were called out in a House resolution when SSA issued an announcement to stop payment on the unfunded supplemental benefits that OEK imposed on SSA.  Following the issuance of the House Resolution, SSA Board unseated Ms. Johanna Ngiruchelbad as Chairwoman and terminated Ulai Teltull as Administrator.

In their termination of Ms. Teltull, they cited seven alleged misconducts as reason for her termination.  After demands from her attorney to provide specifics on the allegations against her, SSA had  yet to come up with anything to support their allegations.

OEK sued SSA naming Ms. Ngiruchelbad and Ms. Teltull as key representatives of the SSA.  With the two out of the picture, the possibility of the suit being dismissed grows. The two ladies were the main witnesses of SSA in the ongoing suit.

Monday night, OEK hosted a dinner for all Social Security and HCF managers and supervisors at the Fuji Restaurant. Staff were told it was mandatory and all had to attend.

A week ago, Ms. Ngiruchelbad, also a retired nurse, whom the Governing Board of Health Care Fund have contracted to be their Utilization Reviewer (UR), had her contract terminated by Acting Administrator Hefflin Bai of the Social Security Administration.  The Governing Board of Health Care Fund was not aware that their contract had been terminated by a third party.

A meeting was held between the two boards but details have not been made available.  Given that HCF Governing Board had executed numerous contract with health providers in Palau and outside of Palau, the ability of SSA board member/acting director to terminate HCF contracts without the HCF Governing Board approval or knowledge is concerning.

Under the National Health Financing Act, SSA is responsible for investments of funds and collection and reporting of the health insurance contributions.  HealthCare Fund Governing Committee is independent body but shares the administrative services with Social Security Administration.  Both organizations are independent but they share the same administrator as mandated by law.

Lawsuit against SSA will be filed next week according to Ms. Teltull’s attorney.  She is suing SSA for defamation, wrongful termination and breach of fiduciary duty.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *