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SSRI > HRSA/American Samoa Project

HRSA/AmericaN Samoa Project

Social Science Research Institute researchers are doing research in support of Coverage for All in American Samoa, a federally funded special planning grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to the Office of the Governor in American Samoa. The purpose of the Grant is to provide decision makers in American Samoa with factual information so they can assess various public policy options to provide and finance quality health coverage for the residents of American Samoa. In addition, and in support of the original project purpose, a supplemental award has been made effective September 1, 2005 to allow the project to begin a process of community awareness building and planning for implementation of the policies once created. These planning efforts will be at the village level and will involve the communities in an active role as collectors of data, analyzers of data and developers of plans based on those data.

The American Samoa office of the Coverage for All in American Samoa (CAAS) is working with a wide variety of people who have an interest in making the health care system of American Samoa an affordable one with high standards of quality. An Advisory Committee has been formed and information on coverage has been presented to many in the Territory. A series of community awareness workshops are being scheduled to discuss issues, possible solutions, and what has been tried elsewhere.

The University of Hawaii Research Team from the Social Science Research Institute has been collecting data on the American Samoa Health System. In addition, they are conducting, with assistance from the American Samoa Community College and the American Samoa Government (ASG) Department of Commerce, a survey of about 1,000 households across all areas of the Territory. That survey will help the Team refine the possible directions that the ASG might go in trying to resolve the health care problems of the Territory. Information is being collected on the health status of the people, their health risks, health practices and ways they seek health, and their opinions on the need for health insurance, and other ways to support the health system.

Once the data have been assembled, actuarial analyses will be conducted to assess the costs of the various options. That information will allow the decision makers to know, in advance, whether it is cheaper and more effective to choose one solution over another. In addition, the UH Team will assist the American Samoan office to develop information to keep the people of American Samoa informed of the project’s progress.

This project will provide decision makers in American Samoa with the information needed to improve the quality of the health care in American Samoa and to assure the people of the Territory that essential health services will be available when needed . Most important, it will assure that the American Samoa Government and residents will be able to afford the health services in American Samoa now and into the future. For further information about the project, you may contact Drs. Carol Murry and D. William Wood at 808-956-7360 or Keniseli Lafaele, CAAS Project Manager at 684-633-4116.