Clashing opinions at hearing for sites for new Guam hospital

Democrat Speaker Therese Terlaje

Opinions clash during an oversight hearing to look for possible alternative sites for a new hospital facility.

An oversight hearing was held on May 17 at the Guam Congress Building in Hagatna to discuss the viability of alternative sites assessed for a new hospital facility for Guam. 

As a recap, in 2019, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommended the construction of a new hospital at a cost of $743 million dollars. 

Instead of renovating GMH, which would cost around $761 million dollars.

According to Democrat Speaker Therese Terlaje, the Guam Healthcare Task Force analyzed several locations for the new hospital narrowed their recommended sites to four: 

  • Adacao, which is 102 acres, and Andersen AFB Andy South in Mangilao, which is 395 acres. 
  • Eagles Field in Mangilao with 102 acres, as well as GMH’s current location combined with the old hospital site above the hilton which totals 45 acres. 

During the hearing, several members of the community testified that there has to be more involvement of doctors, employees and the community for the building of the new hospital as some of them argued they had been “left in the dark”. 

Dr. Thomas Shieh, an ob/gyn, said that there is no need to have behavioral health facilities and administrative offices in the same site as the new hospital.

He added that Guam does not need such a big medical center as the one proposed for Eagles Field. 

“You don’t need a huge medical city for a 160,000 population,” said Shieh. “You don’t need a huge campus like this.”

Thomas Shieh

On the opposing side, GMH administrator and CEO Lillian Perez-Posadas, commented that contrary to other comments, no one was “left in the dark” as the hospital sent out surveys to doctors and the community for their input on the construction of the new hospital. 

“I oppose the option of building the new hospital at OKA point,” said Perez-Posadas. “As a leader, I have an obligation, I have a duty to make sure that the healthcare services such as the hospital are accessible and available to all the people of Guam. Not just for certain communities such as the medical communities, but for all of the people of Guam.”

Lillian Perez-Posadas

She claimed that the new hospital should in fact be a medical campus. That way, Public Health, Behavioral Health and medical specialists can collaborate and give the people continuity of care.