by Nick Delgado
Guam - Governor Eddie Calvo opened his state of the island healthcare address saying the island's healthcare is nowhere near what our people deserve and hasn't been for quite some time. Calvo says the biggest problem staring us in the face is the insufficient budget GovGuam is operating under, and how inaction on his $36 million supplemental budget request will result in a major blow to Guam's healthcare as well as shutdowns throughout the government.
The governor says the primary concern he had coming into office was the Guam Memorial Hospital, and commended the new GMH management team and board of trustees for efforts done so far. Calvo says gross payroll has resumed for GMH, including being current on the hospital's obligations to the retirement fund and Rev and Tax, aggressive collection has resulted in additional revenues, and the hospital cut costs by reducing on–call pay and overtime without compromising delivery of care. He says the days of runaway spending at GMH are gone. Calvo says the hospital is maintaining stock of critical items, supplies and drugs.
Calvo also spoke proudly of the Department of public health who recently opened the southern regional community health center. He says the state of the art facility will augment the health center in Dededo and is hoped to ease the burden of the main facility in Mangilao and GMH. He adds the department is also focusing on technology and training–based programs that will help make public healthcare more relevant and accessible. Calvo also says in mid–June, DPHSS will implement the public health improvement initiative that will bring $3.1 million to develop management information systems and quality assurance and quality improvement programs to the healthcare operations of the department. He says additional funding from the center for disease control will be earmarked for developing programs at GCC and UOG to train government staff in public health.
The governor says the administration is pursuing federally-funded improvements to GMH and the central regional health center to address additional burdens faced during and after the military buildup. Calvo also expressed support for the efforts to open another civilian hospital.
In the end Calvo expressed that we can no longer settle with the status quo of having a mediocre government and mediocre healthcare. He invites the community to join in what he's calling unified team Guam approach.
KUAM will air the address in its entirety on June 2nd at 7pm on MCV Channel 2