Jan. 11, 2018
Hagatna – Governor Calvo has sent a compromise bill to the Legislature today, aimed at solving over 40 years of financial and facility challenges at the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority.
Unlike the Governor’s previous bill that proposed a .75% upward adjustment in BPT, the compromise measure proposes REMOVING TAX EXEMPTIONSspotlighted last month by both the Public Auditor and the Legislature. It is a BIPARTISAN EFFORT drafted in collaboration with Speaker BJ Cruz and Health Chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez.
If passed into law, the bill IMPROVES HEALTHCARE ON GUAM by:
- Fully funding GMH, every-single-year moving forward, with a dedicated funding source;
- Modernizing the hospital with critical renovations and medical upgrades.
“Fixing GMH and improving healthcare for all Guamanians is a shared responsibility that requires participation by the administration, the Legislature and the community,” Governor Calvo stated.
Dr. Mike Cruz, President and Chief Operating Officer for Guam Regional Medical City, helped GMH gain accreditation during his tenure as lieutenant governor.
“The fact that GMH has to see every single patient who arrives at its doorstep, regardless of whether they can pay, is a problem that needs a dedicated source of funding to ensure that it meets its mandate. GMH is going to need to modernize, it’s an old facility that is falling apart as we speak, and that ultimately affects the ability for the staff and the physicians at GMH to be able to give care,” Dr. Mike Cruz said.
GMH Administrator PeterJohn Camacho added: “Because of these financial challenges, we are often faced with the choice of treating patients or maintaining facilities. The condition of our facilities makes evident that we have always chosen our patients first. These factors threaten accreditation immediately, but more importantly patient care.”
Dr. Larry Lizama said the hospital has made huge strides to ensure national standard of care is met but they need support.
“We have been vocal about our challenges! The Hospital has a lot of needs to ensure safe patient care and accreditation standards. The Modernization Initiative identifies critical solutions to our standardization of our healthcare delivery. Our hospital serves our entire community. They deserve the comfort that they are being cared for in a safe environment. Appropriate support should be afforded the lives of our people,” Dr. Larry Lizama said.
Dr. Cruz, Dr. Lizama, Camacho and GMH Medical Director Vince Duenas are four of several healthcare professionals in the medical community, who, for the last several months, have spoken to Guamanians at village meetings, organizational gatherings, and social media videos on the challenges that GMH faces financially, as well as the solutions proposed in Bills 141 and 142.
“If we had the subsidy we had requested or if the solutions in Bills 141 & 142 had been passed into law, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Funding and financial stability are the underlying problem. We are pleased that a compromise has been introduced; the clock is running out; the time to act is now,” Camacho stated.
“This is our hospital. This is our hospital that is going to be here for us. It is the hospital where the majority of our people are born at, and it needs help. We need a modernization of GMH because it truly is a modernization of healthcare as a whole,” Dr. Mike Cruz said.
“I want to thank Speaker BJ Cruz and Senator Dennis Rodriguez for their collaboration on this compromise measure. I anticipate and welcome the public discourse ahead on this very important community issue,” the Governor stated.