FEMA approves extension of 10 DoD active duty medical personnel at GMH

TAMUNING, Guam (September 18, 2020) – Air Force Capt. Owen Caron, an emergency room (ER) trauma nurse, second from right, reviews procedures with staff in the ER of Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH). Twenty-two military medical professionals integrated with GMH staff to supplement COVID-19 medical care in response to the Government of Guam’s continuing efforts to address the growing number of COVID-19 cases throughout the island. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved an extension for 10 active duty personnel to stay at GMH for an additional 4 days.

The Hospital’s Administrator, Lillian Perez-Posadas, along with other leaders at the hospital made the request of FEMA last week, through the Office of Civil Defense. Perez-Posadas had indicated that they needed more time to transition the new traveling staff continent on the systems at GMH.

There have been a total of 22 DoD medical personnel supporting the hospital since the beginning of September and they were due to leave tomorrow, September 30. Their initial contract was only for 30-days.

The service members were only a stop-gap measure according to the Office of Civil Defense Administrator, Charles Esteves, who said that the staff were here until the hospital could get longer term solutions in place.

The hospital entered into an agreement with NuWest, a placement agency for traveling nurses and other medical staff. GMH requested 46 traveling staff total through the agency; 43 nurses and 3 respiratory therapists. The majority of this group is now on Island.

FEMA accepted an extension request by GMH, allowing 9 ICU nurses and 1 Doctor (10 DoD staff total) to stay at GMH until Sunday to help the hospital transition while the 46 traveling medical personnel settle in.

Perez-Posadas, in a statement to PNC News said she’s grateful for any additional capacity allotted to the hospital.

“These travel nurses are used to being assigned and deployed to various hospital organizations (worldwide), so in essence they adapt and function wherever they go. They are proficient in their patient care duties/skills; the time needed is more so to get familiar with the types of medical equipment we [GMH] use, organization, policies and where to get the medical supplies. There will always be the presence of our staff to orient them,” said Perez-Posadas.

The 46 traveling staff are on a 13-week contract with GMH.