GEDA asked to find funds for hospital repairs

Guam Memorial Hospital
Guam Memorial Hospital (PNC file photo)

Governor Lou Leon Guerrero has called on the Guam Economic Development Authority to help find the funds needed to pay for the critical infrastructure repairs needed for Guam Memorial Hospital.

Any money GEDA borrows will need legislative approval identifying what local funds will be used to pay that money back.

Aside from what the governor has said is an estimated $737 million to build a new public hospital, the old GMH as it now stands has an immediate need for $10 million that Guam lawmakers have appropriated and the governor has allowed to lapse into law even though she doesn’t have $10 million to spare.

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The task of finding that amount has been assigned to the Guam Economic Development Authority whose administrator is Melanie Mendiola.

“I am very confident that we can find someone to lend us the money. Or a combination of loans and grants,” Mendiola said.

When PNC asked whether this can be done before the end of the year, Mendiola answered: “We will certainly work as hard as we can to get it done. I think the source of payment is important for our leaders to get together and come up with how we’re going to go out and find, how we’re going to repay the money.”

Borrowing money, Mendiola acknowledged, will require legislative approval of a plan that identifies the local funds that will be used to pay back the loan.

“If we don’t have the money in the bank. We’ve got to go out and borrow it. And if we’re going to go out and borrow it, they need to know how they’re going to get paid back. Our lenders need to know how they’re going to get paid back. GEDA is very happy and willing to do all the paperwork in the middle of it. But we’re not the ones that determine … generally those are budget issues that would determine where the money comes from … and this would potentially need legislative approval,” Mendiola said.

Apart from getting a grant or borrowing money, GMH could get the money it needs for repairs if the health insurers who owe GMH money paid their due bills.

The most recent list of aging account receivables publicly posted on the GMH website shows the following amounts owed to GMH:

  • $349,500 owed by NetCare;
  • $452,000 owed by SelectCare;
  • $1.1 million owed by StayWell;
  • Over $3.4 million owed by Aetna;
  • And the largest amount, owed by TakeCare, at $11.6 million.

The total amount owed by the health insurance companies is just over $17 million.