GMH trustees approve Fiscal Year 2015 budget - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GMH trustees approve Fiscal Year 2015 budget

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by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Guam Memorial Hospital administrator Joseph Verga and chief financial officer Alan Ulrich presented GMH's proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget to the board of trustees.

 "This budget reflects new services with new revenues," said Verga. According to the numbers GMH is looking at $142 million budget. According to Verga the hospital is implementing several new initiatives that will not only bring in new revenues but also add a new level of care not presently available in the territory. "Such as for example new epidurals services recently implemented more outpatient services are planned physician practice partnerships are planned moving forward," he said.

Verga adds the hospital is also plans to open an urgent care facility and add much needed services at its Skilled Nursing Unit in Barrigada. Other sources of revenue include the outsourcing of several areas such as cafeteria services and parking as well as the MOE to a hospitalist based model across all specialties. "Which will enhance in better control of course more consistent quality of care more consistent compliance with regulations and it will benefit everyone all the way around," he said.

Additionally verga announced that just recently they sent over an additional $55 million in uncollected debt to the Department of Revenue & Taxation for tax garnishments. "Bringing the total amount that's there to over $150 million," he said. "We have not done a great job in pursuing self-pay and receivable from self pay uninsured patients and this in addition to we are bringing to Rev & Tax and hopefully we will not only collecting money as we follow our own fiscal operations and also if the patient or guarantor is entitled to a refund we want to receive those funds too so that's very important," he explained.

According to Verga and Ulrich the hospital needs the help and cooperation from Adelup and the Guam Legislature to create a sustainable revenue source that is dedicated and allocated to GMH to fund the cost of uncompensated and self-pay care patients.

"I know there's been a lot of ideas that's been floated out there one such idea that floated that I floated a while ago and has been talked about was a departure tax on the island which would be strictly allocated for the GMH uncompensated care," he said.

Verga added that even if it were a modest $15 to $20 departure charge that would produce $25 million to $30 million annually that could be deposited into a trust fund solely for GMH. "The need to create this trust fund self pay uncompensated care which amounts costs GMH around $30 million a year is really the one single issue if we can agree upon a sustainable source will really right size the hospital's finances and put the hospital on stable ground," he said.

The board unanimously approved the hospital's $142 million budget. Verga says the documents will be prepared and turn it into to the legislature by the March 31 deadline for submission.

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