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News / Virgin Islands / September 24, 2014

With Juan Luis Hospital’s accreditation loss, Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr., senators and JFL Interim CEO Dr. Kendall Griffith met overnight in St. Thomas to discuss the repercussions of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to stop doing business with St. Croix’s only hospital. There, Griffith announced the hospital had retained a law firm to represent it.

The law firm, Boston-based Ropes & Gray, has experience working with CMS and like organizations. Ropes & Gray has over 1,100 lawyers on staff, and its clients range from government agencies, health care organizations, financial institutions, corporations and universities.

Thirteen senators attended the meeting set up by Sen. Sammuel Sanes–including Sanes himself, Kenneth Gittens, Donald Cole, Myron Jackson, Craig Barshinger, Rivera-O’Reilly, Terrence “Positive” Nelson, Myron Jackson, Clarence Payne, Clifford Graham, Janette Millin Young and Alicia “Chucky” Hansen. Sen. Judi Buckley could not attend in person and participated via phone conference.

The officials discussed ways to move forward in light of CMS’s decision, and Dr. Griffith offered ideas in which the hospital could do so. The troubling findings of CMS were also discussed, along with steps that must be taken to remedy the adverse conditions at JFL.

Governor de Jongh, with an optimistic tone, called on Virgin Islanders, more pointedly Crucians, to establish a unified front, stating that the people of St. Croix “are better than any one of these challenges.”

“Our community and especially St. Croix has had to deal with a number of major events over the last several years – the Great Recession, the closing of the oil refinery and now the possible loss of CMS certification at the Luis Hospital,” de Jongh said. “In all these instances, we are better than any one of these challenges and, right now, we have to come together and not fall victim to the negative discussions that only serve to hold us down and not advance our collective interests.”

The governor also told St. Croix residents that brighter days are ahead.

“We will find our way through each of these events,” he said, “but only if we believe in ourselves and exercise the strength and determination to make the difficult but necessary decisions.”

At a press conference on Friday, Griffith said he does not believe the hospital should have lost its certification and seemed to imply surprise when he said he learned of CMS’s decision to do so. He pointed out he was misled by CMS representatives on the scope of the organization’s audit.


Ernice Gilbert
I wear many hats, I suppose, but the one which fits me best would be journalism, second to that would be radio personality, thirdly singer/songwriter and down the line. I've been the Editor-In-Chief at my videogames website, Gamesthirst, for over 5 years, writing over 7,000 articles and more than 2 million words. I'm also very passionate about where I live, the United States Virgin Islands, and I'm intent on making it a better place by being resourceful and keeping our leaders honest. VI Consortium was birthed out of said desire, hopefully my efforts bear fruit. Reach me at [email protected]

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30th Legislature 2015 Budget Increased By $3 Million

The 30th Legislature of the United States Virgin Islands passed its own budget of $21 million for fiscal year 2015 on Tuesday,...

September 24, 2014