by Mindy Aguon
Guam - The Guam Memorial Hospital is praying for a Christmas miracle as the Attorney General's Office reviews all of the documents for a $25 million loan that could help put the hospital back in good graces with a number of its vendors. The legal approval is needed before the end of the year, otherwise GMH could be in jeopardy of having federal funds garnished.
"Our concern is how quickly we can get this through the Attorney General's Office," expressed GMH administrator Joseph Verga, who says the hospital can't obtain a $25 million loan from the Bank of Guam without first obtaining legal approval from the AG. "We really need these funds by the end of the year, if at all possible," he continued. When asked where the money will be going to, he shared, "Most of it will go our priority vendors - Perripoint and MTT Computer Systems - after that we are doing an assessment of our payables and we are going to make payments to critical vendors based on how much they're owed and the criticality of their service and making as large payments as we can to all of them to pay down the debt."
While the loan won't cover all of the hospital's outstanding debt to vendors, he says it will help to pay down what is owed and make vendors happy that some effort was made to pay off the debt. Perripoint, for instance, provides medicines, drugs and other medical supplies to the hospital. Without any payment before the end of the year, GMH could wind up in a much worse condition.
"If we don't pay by the end of the year as I've said before we risk our Medicare money being garnished again so we've been keeping them notified each week. They're asking the same questions - where is your loan? Where are the documents? We're keeping them posted," he stated.
And while the hospital is doing its best to stave off being cut off completely by Perripoint or any of its vendors, Verga says time is of the essence. "However, I fear that if we don't receive the funds by the end of the year, they've told us not because of anything they will do because of the system itself kicking in a new year, which is what happened the last time may just automatically kick in a garnishment again. So we're concerned about that happening," he said.
Attorney General's Office spokesperson Carlina Charfauros meanwhile tells KUAM News that her agency only received the documents on Tuesday, December 17. She says an attorney in the Civil Division has been assigned to review the matter as quickly as possible.