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Mayors go to bat for Guam Regional Medical City

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We've all been there, and we've heard the stories. Whether it's a friend, neighbor, or someone in your family, many Guamanians are forced to travel off-island for healthcare. But what if you didn't have to leave and could receive the services here at home?

That's what island mayors are advocating for.

Members of the Mayors Council of Guam have passed a resolution in support of the Guam Regional Medical City.

Island mayors are lobbying for choice, with Sinajana's Robert Hoffman said, "We're asking for this new cycle of health insurance that they make the Regional Medical City a choice for our residents on the GovGuam plan, at least for now."

In their monthly meeting today, mayors unanimously passed a resolution in support of the new private hospital. According to mayors like Hoffman, the Guam Regional Medical City is underutilized - what he says is partly a result of GovGuam's health insurance plan options. "It's a tragedy to see that we're even having to do this. I think I would jump at the chance. The fact is they've made this huge investment on Guam. They've hired local," he detailed. "They're outsourcing quite a lot of local companies, as well."

Mayors shared their personal stories. Most recalling burdensome expenses from off-island travel, room and board, and time away from work and family.  Dededo mayor Melissa Savares said, "Do you see how many medical fundraisers we have? And we see it as mayors. They come to us for their off-island referrals. T08 they come to us for support. Their medical fundraisers. By having them stay on island it would take a big burden financially and physically off not only the patient, but the families."

Savares, added, "Family support is a big part of healing. If we were here on Guam, I would've been able to go to work and have other family members. And we have the equipment here."

But Calvo's SelectCare healthplan administrator Frank Campillo says GRMC is an option for GovGuam employees as a "non-participating provider." He tells KUAM News individuals can elect to receive care at the Guam Regional Medical City but reimbursements will be significantly different. "One of the things that we as insurance companies want is to provide options to our insured populations. Those options need to be reasonably priced so that the population doesn't get shocked by rate increases. That's something we do not only with local providers but providers outside of Guam.  We try to negotiate reasonable rates and that's what we're doing," he said.

He also confirms SelectCare continues to work with the new hospital and have been engaged for weeks in extensive discussions.

Meanwhile, GRMC's communications officer Kevin Kerrigan also chimed in on today's mayors council meeting, saying, "We do accept Medicare. We have a signed agreement with Netcare. We're taking Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and United Health Care right now. It's a process of negotiations and negotiations are underway principally right now with SelectCare and we're hopeful for a settlement, an agreement with them soon. And we hope thereafter the other insurers will follow suit."

Campillo confirms negotiations for GovGuam employees have been completed with new programs, new benefits, and new rates to take effect with open enrollment on October 1.

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