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New choice for island healthcare coming

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by Janjeera Hail

Guam - Island residents will soon have another option when it comes to healthcare as a local foundation continues to plow forward with plans for the island's first private hospital. It's no secret that island residents are limited in their healthcare options, with many forced to go off-island for specialty care. But the developers of a new private hospital, set to break ground in 2012, hope to change that.

Pete Sgro is the chairman of the Guam Healthcare and Hospital Development Foundation, a group that has helped spearhead the effort by bringing together a developer and an operator.

Sgro confirms that an operator has been secured. While he can't say who that is yet because of a confidentiality agreement, he did reveal to KUAM News that the organization is more than qualified.

"We didn't just go out to anybody we had a criteria for who did we feel was good for Guam as far as an operator. One is that they had to be joint commission. Two is that they had to have not just a U.S. presence but an international presence. Three, they had to have also helped a country in medical tourism," he said.

Developers are also looking at scooping up the hospital with new technology that will integrate the hospital's system with local clinics.  "If somebody would come in to the emergency room for instance if they were integrated if the system was integrated with their primary care physician the emergency room doctors could immediately look up rather than try and question family members or speculate on things they'd know what the medical history of that patient was," Sgro said.

According to Sgro, the project is moving forward on schedule. A consulting group will be on Guam in the coming months to conduct an evaluation of what types of specialized medical services the new hospital should provide.  "Particularly two areas: one was rehabilitation for stroke victims, rehabilitation facilities for heart-attack victims and a full comprehensive cancer care center," he added.

The developers have already shortlisted possible architects, and plan to complete Phase 1 of 100 beds by 2012.

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