Senators have a lot to say about GMH audit - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Senators have a lot to say about GMH audit

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 by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Senators had a lot to say about the Guam Memorial Hospital and the recent audit released by Guam OPA.

Lawmakers began session today with discussion on Bill 312 introduced by Senator Frank Aguon Jr.  The bill clears up language in current law related to money appropriated to the Guam Memorial Hospital from the GMHA Healthcare Trust and Development Fund. Bill 312 would remove the requirement for legislative approval and instead money from the fund would go directly to GMH.

Senators like Michael San Nicolas however were not in support of giving another penny to GMH in light of the recent audit released by the Guam Office of Public Accountability.

San Nicolas said, "Don't get me wrong I want to everything we can to help GMH to support itself but there's a fine line between money and management."

The audit which examined FY13 financials, described how expenditures have steadily increased in the last five years while revenues declined. Auditors also noted how operating losses since 2009 jumped from $6 million to $34 million in FY13. "We have done so much to put more money into the hospital and I just haven't seen management do what it needs to do in order for the hospital to do what it needs to do in order to turn itself around," he said.

What wasn't in the audit, but brought up on the floor was what Vice Speaker BJ Cruz described as Third World conditions in the hospital's brand new emergency room. The vice speaker who visited the new ER two weeks ago said he saw a wall air conditioner between two bays on the ground.

It was "magyvered", caulked and funneled into the drop ceiling. "Its funneled into the false ceilings and we know it comes down through this brand new ER that's exhaust that's carbon dioxide in a  room where there's oxygen tanks," he said.

If that wasn't enough the vice speaker said the A/C was sitting on the floor surrounded with towels to catch leaking water. He said the damp conditions led to mold all over the floor.

Cruz like San Nicolas feel the hospital administrator should be terminated. Healthcare committee chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. however felt that now wasn't the time to discuss the problems, but instead focus on Bill 312.  He committed to calling an oversight for GMH next week. "If you really want to do what some of the things that I've heard that were  said this morning then maybe you should apply to be the administrator but it's our duty and responsibly here to provide the resources to the hospital," he said.

As for Republican Senator Tommy Morrison he was shocked at the tone of today's talks, and instead tried to shed light of some of the positive improvements at GMH. "I just feel pretty alarmed that some members of this body can take it to another level and call for someone's resignation. That's a first from me to hear that from this body and its very unfortunate Madam Speaker just last year the hospital got its accreditation but the Joint Commission I think we miss the boat on that news," he said.

Bill 312 was eventually moved to the Third Reading File.

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