GMH will not ask board to rescind decision
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - As the Guam Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees meets this evening, don't expect the management to go to bat for TakeCare Insurance. This comes on the heels of a press release issued last night by GMH and acting administrator Rey Vega's comment that "It's high time I let the people know just how wrong TakeCare is."
"We at Takecare and FHP have been there for Guam's families," said plan administrator Jeff Larsen in his company's television commercial. But the Guam Memorial Hospital is coming out strong, saying don't be duped by TakeCare Insurance's savvy marketing campaign.
GMH CFO Siva Karrupan said, "We've been the champions of TakeCare's members." The insurance company's recent media campaign has forced the hospital to reveal what they say is the truth about why the board in January decided to terminate its direct payer agreement with TakeCare. "They are one of the worst payers in Guam. Their payment rate is about 52 percent," Karrupan stated.
The board based its decision on terminating the agreement because of TakeCare's systemic practice of denying coverage to members and the company's repeated pattern of only reimbursing the hospital half of what is actually owed to GMH. It's the latter that has Karuppan recommending to the board tonight that the termination not be rescinded. "Based on the facts that I have in terms of the financial impact that the hospital will feel," he projected, "if we continue this relationship I would have to say that we should continue with the termination until we have a better understanding with TakeCare."
Karrupan also refutes Takecare's use of a Calvo-Tenorio transition report on health, which the company asserts shows they owe less money to GMH for billed claims than other insurance companies. "They can use all kinds of transition numbers and this and that but it does not change the fact that they're reimbursement is one of the lowest in Guam," he said.
So the next time you may hear Larsen say in the aforementioned commercial, "TakeCare and FHP have worked hard to support Guam's hospital that's been there for Guam's families. We'll always be there for GMH. After all, it's our families' hospital, too," Karrupan warns, "The facts are very clear: it's their own admission for the last four years, they have been paying us $0.50 on the dollar. Now tell me isn't that completely different than their blitz campaign?"
KUAM News attempted to get a response from TakeCare, but management said they have no comment at this time.