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12 23Sat11012014

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Back Local News ‘Closing GMH is not an option’

‘Closing GMH is not an option’

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GOV. Eddie B. Calvo will not hesitate to take unilateral action to rescue Guam Memorial Hospital from its financial collapse if the Legislature fails to provide immediate relief through the end of fiscal year, Communications Director Troy Torres said yesterday.

“If the Democrats in the Legislature don't care if GMH closes, then the governor is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep GMH open,” Torres said. “Closing GMH is not an option. The governor will keep GMH open for all patients – with or without the senators.”

Up to its neck in debt, GMH is trying to survive a $22 million shortfall in the current fiscal year. It narrowly averted two payless pay periods and is currently contemplating shutting down 30 beds and cutting services to in-patients in order to reduce its operational costs.

GMH Administrator Joseph Verga said the hospital has not taken any action on its options pending response from the Legislature.

“There is nothing new to say. There are no new updates to information that we have already provided. We are still waiting,” Verga said.

While the Legislature is currently tackling the 2014 budget, resolution to the hospital’s current deficit does not seem forthcoming.

Torres said the hospital has always been at the center of the Democratic senators’ election campaign promises.

Instead, “they are placing their pet projects in front of GMH,” he added. “Now that time has come to put that commitment to the test. Politics be damned. The Legislature needs to make this a priority.”

Torres maintained the governor can’t tap any available revenue source to subsidize GMH without legal authority.

GMH is awaiting reimbursements for the services it has rendered for patients under the Medically Indigent Program and Medicaid.

“GovGuam has also exhausted its appropriation to Medicaid and MIP, according to [the Department of Public Health and Social Services],” Torres said. “So just like the direct appropriation to GMH the governor is asking for, legislative action is necessary to give more money to these programs.”

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