Bill to bring financial relief to GMH passed - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Bill to bring financial relief to GMH passed

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The Guam Legislature was called into special session this afternoon to discuss Bill 250 proposing to move forward the Guam Memorial Hospital's $25 million loan. Committee chair on Health Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr initially asked that Speaker Judi Won Pat call senators into emergency session last week, but instead her staff said that a public hearing will be held this Friday with session to follow.

Senator Rodriguez in a letter to Won Pat expressed the urgency with passage of the bill because hospital vendors have threatened pulling funding and services if they're not paid by the end of this month.

Governor's deputy press secretary Phil Leon Guerrero said, "This issue isn't a new issue. In fact both GMH and Senator Rodriguez have told the Legislature that the bill that the governor is calling a special session for is necessary in order to get the loan for GMH off the ground. And this is finances that GMH needs critically to make sure that they're not having their Medicare funding garnished from the federal government again from their vendor Perry Point and also to make sure that the computers continue to be up and running. The bottom line is that if action isn't taken on this critical bill then we're risking thousands of Guamanians lives. The people that are sick that the hospital treats and heals."

During special session this afternoon Senator Mike San Nicolas commented that responsible leadership means being proactive rather than reactive and that it's unfortunate that GovGuam continues to make tough decisions under the gun, in times of crisis.

"Te gotta do what we gotta do. But this bill is a sign of the times. This bill in a nutshell is the lender coming to the government and saying you gotta put language in there that says if we sue you you're going to pay our attorneys costs. What does that mean exactly? It means that lenders worried they're going to have to take us to court. And what does that mean when we dig deeper? It means the lender is concerned about this bad faith environment," he said.

Meanwhile, Speaker Judi Won Pat along with Senator Rory Respicio took offense to accusations that senators may have been sitting on the issue.

The vote passed by majority vote.

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