Tensions rise at GMH oversight hearing - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Tensions rise at GMH oversight hearing

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 by Jolene Toves

Guam - The Guam Memorial Hospital was the hot seat today as top management were blasted by senators on the state of finances.

With flatlining finances GMH is once again at the legislature for an oversight hearing and right from the start things started to heat up as senators questioned a few purchase orders wanting to know how much they cost and how they were being paid for.

In less than five minutes it seemed temperatures went from pleasant to piping hot as senators wanted answers related to purchase orders from the hospital. Senator Dennis Rodriguez said, "There are two purchase orders I believe it's for HRG Group which is for $14,400 and I believe and the other one is something similar and the question was posed to me and I am not in operation and that's something that I think raises concerns."

The documents raised questions because procurement law requires approval of any purchase order over $15,000. However GMH administrator Jospeh Verga denied ever seeing the POs and could not comment. But that was not an answer the Legislature was willing to accept and turned to the hospital's chief financial officer Allan Ulrich for answers.

Vice Speaker BJ Cruz said, "The chairman is only asking how much was it and how was it paid $40 dollars an hour paid how and was there an RFP when was the RFP issued what's the RFP number and when was that approved was it for an amount over $15,000 required in RFP or did we circumvent RFP process by doing two purchase orders or three purchase orders for less than $15,000."

Ulrich took issue with the vice speakers comments and responded  the board in February approved a resolution for the HRG contract for interim Medicare acute billing services. "There was not an RFP because there was no attempt it was only supposed to be for two months at the maximum so I will steadfastly refute any innuendo from you that would state that RFP process was circumvented because that was not the intent," he said.

Cruz asked, "If we are able to produce those documents would I have your resignation by the end of the day?"

But the resignation of the hospital's CFO was not the only jab at the hospital's administration as Cruz questioned Verga's competency as net operating revenues decreased by 20 percent in 2013 after Verga and Ulrich came on board. Verga said, "But again I don't see where we are going with this conversation senator how we  going to help GMH forward why are we reliving the past I don't understand what difference this is going to make to GMH I really have to ask the question. Cruz said, "To show the incompetence to determine whether or not you should continue."

"Oh, I understand - I understand where you are going with this now," said Verga.

Verga responded that independent audits have congratulated him for the progress he's made and that alone should demonstrate his competency.

Today's oversight hearing was called to provide an update on GMH's finances, the Skilled Nursing Unit and capital improvement projects.
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