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TERLAJE: Prioritize funding for GMH repairs to safeguard patients and accreditation

Therese Terlaje

The following is a news release from the Office of Sen. Therese Terlaje:

(Hagatna, Guam) Senator Therese M. Terlaje introduced Bill 294-35 (COR) today, to prioritize an additional $11 Million of improvements to the current Guam Memorial Hospital facility, above less critical expenditures in the current Executive Budget request for FY2021.

“All the revenue we receive as a government is meaningless if we cannot provide a safe place for our community during the most vulnerable times of our lives. Patients and their families deserve to walk into our hospital without seeing a leaking roof and wondering if the electrical panel, air system, or medical record system will put them at risk.” - Ms. Terlaje

According to the Chairperson of the Legislature’s Committee on Health, approximately $21 Million Dollars of priority projects are estimated in order to protect CMS Accreditation and to maintain patient safety pending construction of a new hospital, that may take up to five years to realize.

During FY2020, $10 Million was appropriated to GMH from FY2019 Business Privilege Tax revenues in excess of FY2019 appropriated revenues through Public Law 35-36 and Bill 210, which recently lapsed into law. The Governor’s FY2021 budget is $506,766 less than the total appropriated for FY2020 and again does not allocate funding for the known urgent capital improvement needs of the hospital.

Bill 294-35 will immediately dedicate an additional $11 Million to GMH capital improvement and equipment priorities from FY2021 revenues. This investment will allow for the adequate planning and thorough vetting of additional long-term construction plans for the hospital.

Highest priorities of the hospital include investing in the continued accreditation of the hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and addressing the most urgent structural deficiencies, equipment needs, and infrastructure deficiencies of the current hospital facility.

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