The issue of the Guam Memorial Hospital did not appear overnight.
For years, GMH and other officials have been talking to senators about the problems at the island’s only public hospital. There have been at least three pieces of legislation in the last several years that aimed to address this issue.
There were NO PUBLIC HEARINGS on previous bills that would have 1) fully funded GMH with a dedicated funding source every year moving forward, and 2) modernized the hospital. Both issues are at the core of accreditation.
Thanks to Speaker BJ Cruz, there is now a public hearing scheduled for next week Monday on the latest attempt to help GMH gain the fiscal stability they need to stop managing at a crisis level and be able to promote a higher level of medical service. (The community is invited to participate in this hearing.)
GMH doctors and management were at the Legislature’s oversight hearing tonight. Often times, senators said they were confused, unclear, or couldn’t “wrap their head around” what was being presented.
It’s simple: Since it was built in the 1970s, GMH has faithfully served its mandate to provide healthcare services to all – regardless of ability to pay. (This means GMH loses about $30 million each year and has to decide whether to fix a broken door or buy medicine.) The Legislature’s job is to provide the funding so that GMH can fulfill its mission.
This latest compromise bill also fully funds GMH and modernizes the hospital. Again, these issues are at the root of GMH issues and accreditation.
If the legislature passes the bill to fully fund and modernize GMH, management will use this as a strong appeal to any potential loss of accreditation. If they don’t, there is a strong chance accreditation will be lost.
“We need your help, we need this legislature to get us the funding that the hospital has been begging for, for years. We know what we need to fix this hospital. There have been many studies that have been done on this hospital and it’s all about the funding,” said GMH’s CFO Benita Manglona.
Dr. Vincent Duenas stated: “The remedy of the malady at GMH senator – and this is your hospital and I’m looking up to you to help us – help us find the dedicated funding source so we can move forward.”