Updated 02:42 PM EST, Tue, Dec 01, 2020

Guam Healthcare System Expected to Greatly Improve

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The healthcare in Guam is expected to improve with the government expressing its plan to not only modify the services of the lone public hospital, but the entire system as well.

Kuam News said the Legislative Committee on Health, headed by Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. was initially created to work on the challenges of the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH), but now the body is focused on a bigger role.

"Because that approach doesn't work - it's a whole system of care, it's access of care for our people, ensuring there are health insurance coverage that our people have, ensuring that the resources that we have on our community supports the need of our community," Rodriguez said.

This new system, as per Kuam News, was suggested by a task force, which researched the current status of healthcare on the island.

Task force member Roseanne Jones noted that the government should not only focus on the hospital, but the health system of Guam as well, if they want to see a change.

An initial plan of the task force was to build a new hospital, but over the past months, the group thought of not just building infrastructure, but solving the problem in healthcare as a whole.

"Because a new concrete, although very nice, is not going to change or solve the problem at our hospital," Rodriguez explained.

He also mentioned in a Pacific News Center report that the renovation of the GMH will also be very expensive, since it was projected to cost $100 million or more. This is said to be a very high cost, which the residents of Guam will pay for.

The senator added that the task force has formulated a 10-point plan, which includes reforms in the medical programs in Guam, legislation as well as a likely public-private partnership.

"I intend to take this out to the community, to as many people as I could to let them know what the plan is because this really lays that groundwork of establishing and pursuing long-term sustainability," Rodriguez said.

A proposal of the task force was to allow the Guam Economic Development Authority to look for interested parties who will partner with the government in their effort to improve the health system.

According to Pacific Daily News, GMH has been struggling financially, and are finding it hard to pay for utilities, retirement contributions and even the supplies provided by its vendors.

In 2010, Guam Gov. Felix Camacho declared a state of emergency in the public hospital after it incurred a $16 million debt to its vendors.

Currently, the hospital is estimated to have about $24 million in accounts payables, which have resulted in the disruption of services in the medical facility.

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