June 20, 2018
Hagåtña —Today, as the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH) appeared before the Legislature for their scheduled budget hearing, and immediately following the hospital’s presentation, hospital administrators are still not allowed to refute allegations.
Benita Manglona, who is the Chief Financial Officer of GMH, started to discuss allegations that a lack of medical reporting led to a $22 million lack of collections. The allegation was made in a public hearing last week and reiterated again on Monday (June 18, 2018) night. If you recall, GMH has yet to be given an opportunity at the Legislature to respond to any of the recent allegations at both last week’s public hearing or at Monday’s oversight hearing. And this morning, Sen. Mike San Nicolas asked her to comment, but during her responses, he kept interrupting her, similar to Health Chairman Senator Dennis Rodriguez, also not allowing her to finish.
Manglona, did get to reiterate that GMH has presented these same issues to the Legislature for years, going as far back as the 1970s.
Perhaps if Senators had been more willing to work with the hospital, allowing our public hospital the help needed, we wouldn’t be in a situation where we’re worried about accreditation. And now that they have a potential dedicated source of funding beginning in October, Senators want to strip that funding source.
The Legislature has historically failed the hospital
Underfunding has been noted through various studies and audits. Here are just a few examples:
Deloitte 1991 report: “subsidy increased from $5.8M in FY1989 to $11.6M in FY1991. Although the hospital has survived due to these increased government subsidies, the current operating environment indicates that the subsidy… be required to increase several million dollars each year in order to guarantee GMH’s solvency …”
Senator Rodriguez, who has maintained oversight over GMH for eight years now. During this time, he did not fully fund GMH, nor did he support the recently passed dedicated funding source for GMH earlier this year.
Read here for a transcription of the exchange with the Oversight Chairman on Monday:
Benita Manglona: “I just want to point out that the $20 million allegation…”
Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, Oversight Chairman, interrupted: “If you’re going to refute any of those claims, this is not the venue. I ask that if you set up an internal review that would be the forum for you … you don’t need to clarify here.”
Benita Manglona: “I just need to clarify what that report … it’s not fair you gave her the time …” again, interrupted mid-sentence by the Chairman.
Chairman Rodriguez: “You don’t need to clarify it here… you guys didn’t’ do your job… excuse me Benita I have always given you respect. Do the same.”
Manglona: “I’m trying to but you’re not really giving me …” still trying to clarify on the hospital’s behalf.
Chairman Rodriguez: “I’m telling you that I’m not going to entertain that.”
Manglona: “That’s not really fair Senator. Because its floating around that we lost that money lost money and that is false. And she even apologized to the doctors.”
Chairman Rodriguez: “Well do an appropriate review of her allegations and come out with it. That’s all I’m asking.”
Manglona: “I have the information now …”
Chairman Rodriguez slammed the gavel: “This hearing is adjourned.”
Every year the island’s lone public hospital faces an average shortfall of $30 million. And every year they come before Guam’s legislative body to ask for additional funding. Currently, they are expected to receive approximately $30 million beginning in October with the sales tax currently in place that bridge the gap left by the federal Tax Cuts & Jobs Act recently handed down by Washington D.C.
June 20, 2018