Groundbreaking held for GMH ER - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Groundbreaking held for GMH ER

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by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - The Guam Memorial Hospital processes over 30,000 outpatients per year and over 400 in the Critical Care Unit. And today, dirt was turned signifying the expansion of an area in dire need of some improvement.

It was described as a monumental effort and with a new administrator on board, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to expand the Emergency Department and Critical Care and Intensive Care Units at GMH. And according to new GMH administrator Joseph Verga, if you build it they will come. "Emergency departments are sometime joyous and sometimes sad places, but emergency departments are often the first gatekeeper to not only the hospital but to our entire health system," he explained.

The project will expand the ER threefold from 5,400 square feet to 15,000 square feet, whereas the CCU      will expand from 2,539 square feet to 7,870 square feet.

DCK Pacific Guam meanwhile is the design-build contractor with costs expected around $7.5 million. That financing meanwhile was noted by the Governor's Office as a direct result of then-senator Eddie Calvo's legislation in the budget act back in 2008 prioritizing funds for GMH capital improvement projects and capital operating expenses. Governor Calvo congratulated the staff and volunteers of Guam's only public hospital for doing an exemplary job with so little resources.

"And when we see a project such as this, what this project does is give you the type of facilities and tools so that you can do the work that you have been doing at such a tremendous job in the past," Calvo added.

Verga says it's no secret of the challenges GMH faces, but this expansion will help ensure that no patient is ever turned away. "And this project will enable us to not only offer the best state of the art care and the best environment, but it will enable to render care in a much safer way without having to and alleviate some of the crowding issues," he said.

The project is expected to be completed by January 2014.

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