Guam maps out five-year health care upgrade - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Guam maps out five-year health care upgrade

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - The island is looking to create a five-year strategic plan for health and social services. Health care officials plan to outline the needs as it relates to civilian population growth within the next several years.

Asan resident Frank Taitano says the Guam Memorial Hospital is in dire need of extra rooms and beds to accommodate the growth in the next several years. He says it hits home when thinking of his family and their health needs, noting, "My grand[children], they're here right now and it's for their own future."  He added, "It's going to be - right now we're just lacking rooms, especially those beds."

Taitano is hoping Guam will receive the much needed funding to fix its existing facilities.  

Today, Department of Public Health and Social Services director and health and social services subcommittee chairman J. Peter Roberto says his committee started an initiative to create a five-year strategic plan. And today, the group announced they have received funding to start the process, which will cost $750,000.

"We've been waiting for this funding and thanks to the Office of Economic Adjustment, we have it," he confirmed.  "Now we have our consultants, our experts who could do this type of work for health and social services and the subcommittee is just going to move forward and work closely with Matrix Design Group."

Roberto says an advisory consulting team (ACT) is tasked with developing and writing this plan, adding, "We're looking at capital improvements, we're looking at workforce improvements, we're looking at even the area of funding infrastructures because it's going to cost money to get us where we need to be."

Phase I begins in June, when the group will be gathering data by conducting interviews with key stakeholders. Surveys of service providers will be conducted. ACT Program Manager and Vice President with the Matrix Design Group Celeste Werner says the biggest challenge is that officials have a limited time to complete the project.  She told KUAM News, "We have less than nine months to complete the project and it's really a team effort and we can do our best and it's going to be dependent on everybody - the stakeholders, the citizens who will give very good feedback and giving us the opportunity to bring our expertise forward."

Werner says the island needs a strategic plan to create a baseline and foundation for the territory, which will provide tools in order to move forward in applying for grants and other funding.  "Make sure we take care of a strategic plan that takes care of the citizens of the territory first and then look at where that delta is, and then provide you guys the tools through the strategic plan," she said.

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