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Medical Society discusses GMH accreditation

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The new management team at the Guam Memorial Hospital were the guests during last night's meeting of the Guam Medical Society. Although they were scheduled to speak on the topic of the state of the hospital, discussions also focused on the cost of accreditation. 

Past president of the Guam Medical Society Sam Friedman was on the Calvo-Tenorio Transition Team that recommended the leadership at GMH be fired. He says the reason was based on meetings with several hospital managers and the board, saying, "Everybody patting themselves on the back saying what a wonderful job they're doing and let's just keep on going what we're doing."

But that changed. In one fell swoop and with the power of the Organic Act, Governor Eddie Calvo replaced the leadership at the hospital with 18-year GMH veteran Rey Vega named as interim hospital administrator, Dr. Larry Lizama as medical director and Siva Karrupan as chief financial officer.

During Wednesday night's GMS meeting Karrpupan said its clear cuts need to be made ... He gave a list of expenses like what he called "the enormous amount physicians get paid", and other employees. He said, "$411,000 and we can only bill $75,000 for their productivity...we have ultra sound technicians getting paid $40,000 a month keep in mind back anywhere in any part of the mainland an ultra sound technician would get paid max $55,000 a year."

Other costs were $6.5 million in the past two and a half years paid to get the hospital accredited by the Joint Commission. The question was raised do we really need it, with Karrupan saying, "JCHO is not the be all, end all."

From a purely financial perspective Karrupan said no, while new medical director Dr. Larry Lizama from his perspective said he saw the benefits. "I think JCHO has brought some positive things to GMH because it emphasize patient safety," he said.

Friedman noted, "But do you need to JCHO do you need JCHO in order to do good medical practice and good hospital practice? I say you do not. "

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