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New GMH managers tour facility

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The governor's new management team reported for work bright and early meeting with middle management and touring the Guam Memorial Hospital. Interim hospital administrator Rey Vega, who has nearly two decades of experience at the hospital, is making a comeback after leaving GMH four years ago. 

Vega says the transition report highlighted the immediate actions that need to be done to reinstate balance at the hospital. "We will be talking to them after that get their assessment and everything like I said we're gong to walk the halls," he explained. "We're going to get their ideas and then go back to the table and make the assessment and then move forward."

"Surely one of them is financial," he added. "We need to go deeper on the financial side of the hospital from then on and I think we should be able to move forward."

The finances is one thing the newly-appointed Chief Financial Officer Siva Karuppan says he will be looking into to ensure that vendors are paid and supplies don't run out. "Being the first day at the job, I need to take a look at accounts receivable look at how our billing system has functioned we need to take a look at the payment of plans, payment system from insurance companies. I have a lot of work ahead of me," he said.

The governor also selected Dr. Larry Lizama to be the medical director, and Lee Webber, Frances Mantanona, Dr. Ricardo Terlaje, Albert Gurusamy and Dr. Edna Santos to serve on the board of trustees.

While Vega says he will be taking the advice of the former board to let middle management take the lead, health oversight chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. Feels the change is a step backwards. "I just think it wasn't right to abruptly do an overhaul of the management and leadership there," he said.

The senator added, "The biggest challenge GMH is facing is money so unless the governor is going to back up this action with finding the resources we need to keep the hospital running then we just have to wait and see."

Rodriguez says he plans to meet with the new management and board regarding their 30-to-60 day plan that hopes to change the conditions at the hospital. Governor Eddie Calvo says he disagrees with the comments made by the outgoing board members and says that his decision is to only benefit both the current staff at the hospital and the patients.

The governor noted, "Everybody is entitled to an opinion, and I respect their opinions."

And speaking of Governor Calvo, he walked the halls today with Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio, thanking the staff for their service. While he says GMH has the administration's full support, he says the concerns there are even much greater. Said Calvo, "There were obstacles from day one, if a report is asked for and then a week later we can't get that report and then we come back again, if there is a concern that is only cash flow and its only financial in nature and then I walk into room and see bloody gauze and medical waste on the floor or again the most recent incident where I have to sign of on a claim as recommended by the AG for potential negligent act that occurred in this hospital, I don't believe its just financial."

Calvo says there has been a disconnect with the management and board since the hospital received accreditation, and feels they either didn't see the issues or refused to see it.

Meanwhile, Connor Murphy informed island media this morning that he resigned from his position as public information officer effective immediately.

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