Just as one new hospital is set to open this year, efforts are now underway to improve both the physical and financial infrastructure of Guam's only public hospital. A special task force has now been empanelled with the goal of building a new Guam Memorial Hospital facility, bringing together critical stakeholders from both the private and public sector.

About a month ago, Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr's. two-year-old son had to be admitted to GMH. While he's always considered the people working there as its greatest assets, it was then the Committee on Health chair says he had a chance to fully appreciate GMH's aging facility. "The options are renovating the existing facility, but I think we're focused and look at the options we have in building a new facility within the Government of Guam's footprint," he shared. That very idea of building a new facility is one of the goals of a new special task force announced Monday morning.

The task force, comprised of 11 people from both the private sector and the administration, will develop a plan of action to build a new GMH within GovGuam's footprint. "The new GMH facility must be sufficient to accommodate Guam's growing population and include specialty centers that meet the demand for treatment of non-communicable diseases, including the establishment of a robust specialty Heart Center equipped with a fully functional catheterization laboratory, a modernized Maternity Ward, and other specialty centers," he said.

Rodriguez says the plan would build an entirely new facility and possibly leverage the existing building. Some of the areas of interest for a new hospital include in Yigo, Agat, Mangilao or Dededo. The second goal is to develop a business model that would ensure long-term financial sustainability that includes private/public partnerships and privatization of certain services.

But in order to help with the financing, Senator Rodriguez has introduced
, which would refund existing 2007 and 2009 general obligations bonds. "What this would do is net us upwards of about $45 million in savings over the course and life of the bond - this legislation would reserve these funds as partial or seed if you will to start the process of ensuring we have financing to build a new hospital," he explained.

This new hospital is estimated to possibly cost upwards of $200 million.

In the meantime, Rodriguez says he will be working with the Guam Regional Medical City, US Naval Hospital Guam, and private providers to improve healthcare on Guam.

GRMC chief financial officer Francis Santos said, "We're excited - obviously the new hospital willfully cooperate with the committee and the task force on seeking what is in the best interest of delivering quality health care to Guam."

The first step for the special task force is putting together a report on its plan of action and business model as well as recommendations for legislative action. The intent is to have this ready within 60 days from its first meeting set for next week. 

Task Force Members:

  • Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Chairman, Committee on Health, 33rd Guam, Legislature
  • Former Senator Lou Leon Guerrero, CEO, Bank of Guam
  • Anthony P. Sgro, President, Fitness Solutions
  • David John, President, ASC Trust
  • Chris Felix, President, Century 21
  • Rene Ramos, President, MedPharm Group
  • Ling-chi (Rich) Huang, President, American Chocolate Factory
  • Jenny Cruz, President, GMHVA
  • GEDA: John Rios, Administrator & Christina Garcia, Business Development & Public Finance Manager
  • BBMR: Joey Calvo, Acting Director & Lester Carlson, Deputy Director
  • GMHA: Dr. Florencio (Larry) Lizama, Interim CEO & Benita Manglona, CFO