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New hospital's QC application matter coming up

by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's been almost a year since the Guam Regional Medical City submitted its application for a qualifying certificate and in almost half that time since a heavily attended public hearing was held on the matter. And the request will finally go before the GEDA board.   

Could Christmas come early for the Guam Regional Medical City with a gift of a qualifying certificate? Time will tell as the Guam Economic Development Authority will finally discuss the matter at its meeting next week. Business development manager Christina Garcia says there's a lot to consider following last May's intense public hearing, saying, "It was one of the longest public hearings ever - we had about four hours of testimonies provided and as you can imagine there was a lot of emotional testimony given both in favor and against the QC."

The new hospital specifically requests a rebate of 75% of corporate income taxes payable to GovGuam for a period of 20 years, a rebate of 75 of corporate dividends tax for a period of five years and an abatement of one hundred percent of real property taxes for a period of 20 years - all are set to result in millions in tax incentives for GRMC. "So again we're having to look at all that economic impact and trying to find a way to not hurt our existing industry, our existing hospital but again welcome the additional services, the vital needed service," said Garcia.

A credit review committee was formed and for the past few months have been working on a case analysis outlining what the new hospital plans to offer and how it compares to GMH and national standards. However Garcia says it hasn't been an easy road, saying, "When this case analysis came up we were also going through the QC review process at the Legislature so all of this again was making sure we address all issues and concerns to the best of our abilities and again there are a lot of issues with the QC program in itself."

But what will the committee recommend to the board? Garcia says its tough to say as more information is being collected along with considering the feedback from the medical community on Guam. "We're also sensitive to the discussions with the doctors on their services they provide and the impact it will have on them," she said.

The Guam Medical Association for instance was one of the biggest critics of the QC request. Garcia meanwhile says that those in the medical professional have been advised that if they're providing new and much needed services to Guam that they too could apply for a QC. Personally speaking though, she says things look positive for GRMC considering other QCs have been issued in the health care industry. "The way we've had to do it, is we have our personal opinions but they've come in, they made the investment, their willing to make the commitments on employment and so on so it's just a matter of ensuring the impact does not hurt," she said.

Ultimately though it's up to the board who could very well make changes to the request. The GEDA Board meanwhile is set to meet on Tuesday, December 10 at 1:30pm on the 5th Floor of the ITC building. 

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