A $6.3 million check was a shot in the arm for Guam’s financially strapped public hospital.
The Guam Memorial Hospital Authority recently received the check from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after a long-awaited adjustment to the hospital's reimbursement rate.
We are glad that CMS finally adjusted the base rate, which was much needed. GMH needs major renovations for the safety of hospital staff and patients. In addition, the hospital needs supplies and upgraded equipment. Furthermore, the hospital has a legal obligation to pay vendors for products and services legitimately received.
"We can use the money to pay down our payables, to buy supplies,” Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said. “It’s added revenue for the operations of our hospital.”
GMH acting Administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas said the outstanding amount owed to vendors now is about $9 million.
We are heartened to hear that GMH is making progress in other ways as well.
Perez-Posadas said the CMS survey team finished its inspection of the hospital and provided its exit report to GMH management.
"From the previous year they cited us for seven conditions," she said. This year "it dropped down." She said at the time that she could not report how many conditions have been met or what specific conditions at the hospital were cited.
We look forward to learning about the final results of the CMS inspection once they are available.
GMH should continue to be open and transparent about its issues because public health is everybody’s concern. We all have a stake in GMH straightening out its finances and becoming stable.
While the hospital must continue to seek fair reimbursement, officials must continue to press for increased funding over the Compacts of Free Association. The hospital treats regional migrants, many of whom can’t pay their medical bills. According to the government of Guam’s 2016 Compact-impact report, providing medical care to regional migrants cost GMH $15 million in 2016.
With so many financial challenges, GMH is not facing a smooth road to recovery, but fair compensation is one step along the way.