Guam Regional Medical City has announced its intention to suspend its services for moms giving birth, newborns needing intensive care, and children needing pediatric care and pediatric intensive care.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Felix Cabrera explained in a release that the private hospital "has come to a critical juncture where we must refocus our limited resources."
The date for full closure has not been decided, according to the release issued Thursday afternoon. However, the statement said the entire department for maternal and child health is expected to be closed before the end of the year.
The units affected by the closure include labor, delivery and recovery, neonatal intensive care, pediatric intensive care and pediatrics.
The release notes that maternity services exist at Guam Memorial Hospital.
"The region's health challenges are too great, with too limited resources to be operating redundant services that can potentially be consolidated," stated GRMC President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Mike Cruz.
Cruz explained that many island civic and health care leaders have recommended that "GMH become the center of excellence for maternal child health" and he said those recommendations have "not fallen on deaf ears."
Cruz said he and Cabrera have met with officials at GMH to prepare for the consolidation of maternity services.
GRMC to focus on specialized care
Cabrera said GRMC's primary goals have not changed. The hospital will continue "to be a center of excellence for cardiopulmonary, neuroscience and oncology services," he said.
"We have recognized what we can do well," Cabrera stated. "We have also been honest in our assessment that our community is likely better served by consolidating maternal child health back to our GMH partners."
Reaction to change
Legislative health committee Chairman Sen. Dennis Rodriguez Jr. said he looks at the change in a positive way.
Rodriguez said each facility should define its role – with GRMC becoming a "specialty hospital that I think a lot of people expected it to be" and GMH as a "government hospital concentrating on basic services, like birthing babies."
"This is maybe a step in that direction," he said. "It's going to be a win-win for both facilities, and in general for the people of Guam."
GMH Administrator PeterJohn Camacho could not be reached for comment as of press time.