Posted: Friday, November 12, 2021. 1:32 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat has confirmed that while his Ministry is assisting the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH) with needed medicines and equipment, its authority as a statutory board must manage them.
But that stance appears to have run him into trouble with a noted member of the Board, the recently appointed Dr. Fernando Cuellar, who has turned in his resignation effective immediately according to reports.
Earlier this week, the Minister told Channel 7 News that the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority (KHMHA) is independent of the Ministry, while still being assisted with supplies, equipment, and a Government subsidy of 2.4 million dollars per month, adding, “and it is expected that they are going to be able to manage appropriately.”
He also noted issues with shipping and procurement due to the pandemic but assured that some of the requested medication has been ordered and is due to arrive.
Asked if it was unfair to the Ministry for it to be blamed, he stated, “Listen, when you have a board and a managing authority they need to step up and take responsibility for the management of the hospital and that is where the responsibility lies. As far as we are concerned, the ministry of health and wellness is doing all that it can to support them and we will continue to do that.”
Dr. Cuellar, responding on 7 News on Thursday night, accused the Minister of throwing the Authority under the bus, stating that it was “quite insulting, saddening and downright not true” that the Authority had not done its part in trying to obtain the supplies.
Notably, he added, “And I don’t mind resign today, tomorrow if that is what my actions and talking will lead to,” after mentioning that he had been unable to get the Board to issue a response to the Minister. The comments, he said, were indicative of a “serious disconnect” that needed to be addressed not only at the Ministry level but among the populace.
In contrast, Board Chairman Dr. Andre Sosa preferred to focus on trying to alleviate the suffering of patients and working toward full autonomy of the hospital, telling Channel 7, “We are capable of doing the job, all we want is for them to run the money so that we can do that.”
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