Håfa Adai my dear people of Guam,
The Joint Commission denied accreditation for the Guam Memorial Hospital on the same day that 11 senators of the 34th Guam Legislature eviscerated their dedicated funding source.
For years, my administration and I have been working with the health professionals at the Guam Memorial Hospital to get the funding that GMH needs to meet its mandate to serve ALL who walk through their doors, regardless of ability to pay.
I offered a comparison to reporters recently; the University of Guam, which has similar operating costs, gets about $35 million each year with GMH receiving half of that, at about $15 million each year in subsidies – and this year, 9 and a half million.
If UOG didn’t receive the level of funding it does – how long would they maintain accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges? My point here is that we set them up for success and we support their mission to educate. Wouldn’t we want to do the very same for our only public hospital?
For 40 years, auditors, reporters, editors and federal authorities, even the Joint Commission itself, have commented on the lack of ample funding support for our hospital’s mission.
The Senators, however, continue to bury their heads in the sand. They say if we change the administrator, change the board of Trustees, change the way we hire doctors … this will help GMH’s finances. 40 years have come and gone, we have had different administrators and board members, we’ve outsourced certain functions, and have even had different governors step in.
The one constant that the senators are ignoring is the shortage of funding – which is the primary function of a Legislature.
If this were the Titanic, they’d be pointing out the problems with the deck chairs – all the while the ship is sinking because no one is fixing the crack in the hull.
In this case, the iceberg is the hospital’s annual $30 million funding dollar shortfall that the Legislature continues to ignore.
As a community, we must join efforts to ensure that our lone public hospital is able, not only to continue providing quality service, but to improve upon its services moving into the future.
Talk to your senators, this is OUR hospital.
May God continue to watch over and guide us as we work towards a solution.

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