What led to the Guam Medical Referral Office nearly closing this week?
Adelup was not candid about this new impending crisis, but attorney Tom Fisher, who held the GMRO contract for the off-island service, blamed the administration for its apparent delinquency.
It hasn’t always been a smooth sail for the three off-island offices charged with assisting Guam-based patients who have to seek specialized medical care in the Philippines, Hawaii and California.
The latest hiccup was the near-expiration of the current service agreement.
Adelup has not disclosed what led to the satellite locations almost closing its doors. It turns out, no new contract was forthcoming.
Fisher said, only hours before the latest month-to-month agreement was set to expire, Adelup informed him it had no intention of extending his service for another 30 days.
“I scrambled all day, yesterday evening to see if we could continue to provide services to the people of Guam, and we are,” Fisher told PNC News.
In 2017, the Calvo administration allowed the agreement to roll over on a temporary basis through emergency procurement. As of yesterday, the Leon Guerrero administration followed suit. But while some would be quick to classify this repeatedly renewed agreement as a “gravy train,” Fisher told PNC that GovGuam’s repeated failure to pay him compelled him to self-fund the operation of the Medical Referral Office, at least for now.
“I personally have been financing services received. By the end of this month, the government of Guam would now owe me $300,000. There was one period when they owed me over $500,000 for Guam Medical Referral services. So these other people who think, ‘God, I want that contract’ and they’ll just get to, you know, act like Romeo Go and live in a strip club in Manila. They’re just idiots. They have no idea what’s going on,” Fisher said.
Fisher said he has waived any claim to interest earned while waiting for all the money he is owed.
But what about to the families that were given a 24-hour notice of closure— the people who are entitled to government assistance through the medical referral office? Fisher had this to say: “They will be taken care of as long as I am performing the contract. We’ve been jumping through our ***holes for the last 24 hours trying to make sure there’s no interruption in service and we have managed to do so.”
Communications Director Janela Carrera, released statement, saying the administration is working toward compliance with a new public law that would either transfer GMRO operations directly under the Governor’s Office or through a partnership with a non-profit organization.
Carrera also said providing essential services to these clients continues to be a priority and that they do not expect any interruption of operations at the GMRO.
PNC also reached out to Speaker Tina Barnes who has oversight of the Medical Referral Office.
Barnes said she was only made aware of the potential closure today, and disclosed that acting Gov. Josh Tenorio has tasked his legal office to expediently resolve the issue.