NEWS: Still Waiting on JC and CMS; Dedicated funding source could help save hospital accreditation
May 31, 2018 – While awaiting response from the Joint Commission regarding a January visit and the survey results from the CMS Certification review, Guam Memorial Hospital officials urge lawmakers to ensure critical funding provided under the new sales tax for the hospital is protected.
“The Commission is very much aware of the challenges we face at the hospital, including our payer mix and the revenue shortfall – upwards of an average $30 million each year for several decades,” said GMH CEO PeterJohn Camacho. “They understand that because of that shortfall we are sometimes reduced to the decision of purchasing medicine or supplies that our patients need immediately, or fixing a roof or upgrading equipment or even hiring more nurses and other critically needed staff.”
Camacho added that has been the reality at the hospital for too long, which is why they were excited when Bill 248-34 became law, giving GMH a dedicated funding source aimed at covering the perennial revenue shortfalls. The hospital administrator said the .75% from the anticipated sales tax will not only be sufficient to address the annual shortfalls, it could be a game changer in helping address concerns by both the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.
“We were excited to share that information with them. I hope Senators don’t turn around now and take away the regular, reliable funding for the hospital,” Camacho stated. “That funding – the first at that level of support – will go a long way to ensuring we maintain standard of care for our island’s only public safety net hospital.”
Medical Director Dr. Vincent Duenas said the hospital staff continues to provide the best care it can for its patients. He noted that funding to fill the perennial revenue shortfall caused by lack of payment or underpayment of its payer mix will go a long way to providing the tools that doctors, nurses, technicians, and pharmacists need to do their jobs.
Chief Nursing Officer Zennia Pecina raised the issues and challenges faced by the Hospital related to the recruitment and retention of critical healthcare professionals. She noted that while the hospital is developing strategies that will address those issues, those opportunities are dependent on funding.
The Joint Commission earlier this year shared the decision of “Preliminary Denial of (GMH) Accreditation.” Per the process, GMH sent a response to the Commission’s report and now awaits word from Joint Commission.

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