Guam – While the Guam Memorial Hospital continues to struggle with its finances, Vice Speaker BJ Cruz offers a solution that could inject millions of dollars back into the ailing hospital.
Vice Speaker BJ Cruz says he sent a letter to the Department of Administration because in the past , DOA has always been behind in MIP payments to the Guam Memorial Hospital. According to Cruz, the hospital would bill close to $22 million dollars each year. Cruz says the appropriation of what the Guam Legislature provides to the Department of Public Health and Social Services is between $15 to $16 million dollars each year, but that’s what Public health requested. Cruz says every year Public Health is short.
Cruz says the appropriation of $15 to $16 million dollars for MIP is insufficient because GMH’s cost is more than the $15 million dollars. But MIP is suppose to pay for private practitioners and the pharmaceuticals. That’s why its always in a major shortfall.
Cruz says until Public Health comes clean with the Legislature on how much money they actually need each year and ask for it, they will never be caught up with their bills. Cruz believes Public Health won’t ask for more money because Bureau of Budget and Management Research placed a cap on them.
According to Cruz, In trying to have a balance budget BBMR would tell the departments that they have a cap. And Public Health and Social Services has to be run at that cap. And out of that cap, only $16 million dolars is going to be set aside for MIP. And every year during the budget hearing for Public Health, I keep asking them, how much did you spend last year and they respond, $21 million dollars. Cruz says he asks them if they would like to amend their request from $16 million dollars to $21 million dollars and they reply “no sir”.
Cruz says in spite of Public health asking for $16 million, the legislature should appropriate addition funds to the agency to cover their shortfall. Cruz says his only concern is that it may take away from another agency. He says when that happens then we will need to address it. Cruz says hwe wouldn’t be surprised if Public Health owes the hospital close to $5 million dollars. He would like to see Public Health be current with their bill to the hospital, because this would be an injection of cash the hospital badly needs.