GMH waits on $25M loan - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GMH waits on $25M loan

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - The Guam Memorial Hospital had high hopes of receiving a $25 million loan to pay down their debts before the end of last year, but fast forward to today and nothing.

"You will recall, we were expecting to receive the loan at the end of last year. So here we are at the end of January. And again, we keep saying it's eminent, eminent, eminent. And their starting to lose their patience," said Joseph Verga.

And with a $25 million loan still pending, the Guam Memorial Hospital administrator says history could repeat itself especially with vendor, Perry Point.

"I received an email from them over the weekend saying they appreciate the continued payments, however HHS (health and human services) is taking a hardline with us because of the amount of time it's taken and the length of the debt and we remain at risk of garnishment. I really am concerned now," he said.

As we've been reporting, last July GMH chief financial officer Alan Ulrich learned the U.S. Department of Treasury was garnishing the hospital's Medicare payments on behalf of Perry Point at over a million dollars a month, although garnishments have since stopped, Verga says the outstanding debt continues at $4 million today.

"Perry Point is the federal vendor that sells us all kinds of medical supplies. Medicines, patient care supplies, operating room supplies - we basically get everything. Because they're a government vendor, they're the lowest price we really can save GMH money by doing business with them as much as we can," he said.

But it's not just Perry Point. As we've also reported NTT Data gave GMH until January 22nd to pay up or cut services. Since then, Verga says the Governor's Office helped identify funds to pay down the half a million needed for the computer software provider, but that was far from enough to get GMH off financial life support.  

"We are still at risk with other vendors. We're still $23 million in debt. Our local vendors, for example. Our doctors. Other local vendors that we get loads of supplies for that continue working with us for equipment maintenance, on other types of supply issues," he said.

As we've been reporting, Governor Eddie Calvo called an emergency session two weeks ago for lawmakers to address Bill 250 which amends current law over sovereign immunity after concerns were raised by lender, Bank of Guam. The following day Calvo signed off on the legislation which should've pushed the funding forward but committee chair on healthcare Dennis Rodriguez Jr. confirms there's still a final review of documents, which is why that special session was so critical.

Rodriguez says "can you imagine if we waited until this week to pass it? I believe the finalization will happen anytime now."

Rodriguez adds that an oversight hearing for the hospital has been scheduled for February 12.

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