Budget bill amended to address GMH critical projects

The hospital capital improvement fund amendment passed late Tuesday night during session.

The budget bill has been amended to provide $10 million of excess fiscal year 2019 income tax and business privilege tax revenues into a newly created Hospital Capital Improvement Fund.

The amendment was introduced by Sen. Therese Terlaje who also chairs the Legislature’s committee on health.

According to Terlaje, the use of these funds require a public hearing and legislative appropriation. The amendment passed late Tuesday night during session.

The latest version of the budget bill only appropriates $28 million to GMH primarily for operations. Terlaje said Bill 186-35 did not address GMH’s critical capital improvement projects.

GMH has outlined $57 million worth of capital improvement projects, setting its top three priorities as a new electronic health records (EHR) system, electrical panel replacement, and structural roof repair.

The EHR system is estimated to cost $21.8 million, the electrical panel $6 million, and the structural roof repair at $5 million. Terlaje said these projects have been looming for years and are critical mandates raised by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

According to the latest Consolidated Revenue and Expenditure Reports and further confirmed by the Bureau of Budget and Management Research during session, GovGuam is tracking $14 million in revenue above the amounts appropriated for the general fund, with two more months to go until the end of FY2019.

“While these excess funds won’t address all of GMH’s critical projects, it’s a start to get at least one done for sure. With concerns raised by CMS, and more importantly the safety and care of our patients and doctors at risk, I want to thank my colleagues for prioritizing health and addressing these issues that have been ongoing for years,”
Terlaje said in a statement.

Earlier, Terlaje’s amendment to lock up potential fiscal year 2020 excess revenues for GMH was voted down.