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Medical leaders optimistic about accreditation

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by Michele Catahay

Guam - News that the Guam Memorial Hospital has a good chance of receiving full accreditation has officials in the medical community elated. Although no official word has been handed down just yet, the community remains optimistic.

The island's only public hospital hasn't been accredited for over two decades, but things just might change. Over the years it has been a constant struggle for the hospital with issues ranging from the lack of bedspace, and much needed supplies to infrastructure and system problems.  GMH received a favorable visit from the Joint Commission on Accreditation. Officials have said they remain optimistic that GMH will receive full accreditation this time around.

Reacting to the news, Governor Felix Camacho commended GMH staff and management by saying, "Imagine it hasn't been since 1981 that we've lost accreditation and to finally achieve we've lived up to our promise."

Chairman of the Guam Board of Medical Examiners Dr. Ricardo Eusebio says the hospital is moving in the right direction, telling KUAM News, "I think it's a big thing for Guam. I think the public has sort of demanded that the hospital be accredited. I'm not sure if they understand that completely. It's a good thing - any sort of positive step for the hospital."

Dr. Eusebio says the pressure continues to be placed on the Legislature and the people in government to ensure this standard continues. He says progress cannot continue with empty pockets and promises, and the people of Guam should also know that adequate healthcare comes with a price tag.

Guam Medical Association president-elect Dr. Thomas Shieh says it's been a long time coming, but GMH has had many improvements in the last three years.  "I think the surgical specialty, the surgical, the infection rate, how we take care of patients have improved dramatically," he expressed.  "There are certain standards you must meet. Minimum standard is to get JCHO accreditation. And those standards we've met and I think hopefully I'm keeping my fingers crossed until we get a formal letter from the commission very, very soon."

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