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Guam Regional Medical City opening ER

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Two months after first opening its doors, the Guam Regional Medical City will finally launch emergency room services starting next week.  Since July 1, the island's newest hospital has seen 720 patients, however less than a dozen of those were for in-patient services. That however will more than likely change with the launch of emergency services next week.

"We will be opening on the 9th and at 7am in the morning and we are excited about the opening," said Dr. James Murphy. He's the medical director for the new emergency department and will lead a staff of 32. Murphy tells KUAM News while he expects an influx, he believes GRMC will be able to handle the care of patients. "Basically it's a standard emergency room with emergency room services and we will have a fast track and emergency portion of it that consists of about 11 beds and four beds for observation, so that's what it will be," he said.

Dr. Murphy, who previously worked as a staff physician at the Guam Memorial Hospital, says the emergency department is actually similar to that of GMH. "I would state to you that both hospitals provide good emergency services and in an emergency, that dictates where you go, whichever is the closest as far as you're concerned, that's pretty much it," he surmised.

For instance, GRMC currently has a neurologist who will be able to provide expertise to handle severe head injuries and neurology issues. As for orthopedic cases, GRMC will examine the patient, but most likely would be referred elsewhere as GRMC's orthopedic surgeon recently resigned and left island. GRMC is in the process of hiring two orthopedic surgeons by the end of this year.

The new hospital in the meantime is only accepting NetCare, United Health Care, Blue Cross and Tri-West for VA referrals with proper authorization for full insurance coverage. Outpatient coverage will be available for Staywell, Selectcare, Medicare, Medicaid, MIP and Tricare. Negotiations for full coverage are currently underway with Staywell, Takecare and Selectcare.

GRMC says Selectcare is the closest to reaching an agreement. The hospital however will be in full compliance with the federal emergency medical treatment and active labor act which means any person coming into the emergency room must be provided with an appropriate medical screening examination.

We should note GRMC's communications officer Kevin Kerrigan says the fifth floor has yet to open. The fifth floor consists of the medical/telemetry and surgical nursing units.

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