GMH on the brink of losing accreditation, says hospital’s chief-of-staff

The old and dilapidated Guam Memorial Hospital will be replaced by a new hospital. (PNC file photo)

Dr. Chris Bieling addressed his colleagues and others in a two-page letter about these issues.

Guam – Is the Guam Memorial Hospital “on the brink of losing accreditation?” That’s what the hospital’s Medical Department’s chief of staff indicates in an email he sent out to several colleagues earlier this month.

But GMH CEO Peter John Camacho says that’s far from the situation at GMH.

It’s news that we’ve heard of before: GMH “on the brink losing accreditation” either from the Joint Commission or the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The most recent one comes in the form of an email written by OB/GYN and Medical Chief of Staff Dr. Chris Bieling dated Sept 11. It was addressed to “my colleagues, members of the MEC, Committee Chairs.”

It’s a two page letter but a couple of sentences stand out.

“We recently completed another inspection by CMS. The report does not look good. We are at the very brink of losing accreditation. Yes, there is a multitude of citations at different levels,” he wrote.

This is hardly surprising given the number of times GMH has been in these shoes before. In late 2015, then-CEO Ted Lewis also sounded off about this very issue to Adelup. Before that, the issue was highlighted by then-CEO Joe Verga several times in 2013.

But current Administrator Peter John Camacho says that is not the case this time around. He explains that the Joint Commission came out to Guam last month after they received a few complaints about the hospital. Based on those concerns, the Joint Commission conducted a “for cause” visit and did, in fact, issue a number of citations.

But these citations, according to Camacho, were primarily based on physician participation, or in this instance, lack thereof.

In his email to his colleagues, Dr. Bieling highlighted these issues, noting that “Quarterly Medical Staff meetings repeatedly have no quorum. A number of committees never meet. Mandatory educational events and educational webinars for quality improvement are met with medical staff apathy.”

He goes on to say, “Some colleagues almost seem to take pride in scraping by at the absolute rock bottom of certain quality measures like attendance, medical records, etc.”

Camacho says at the end of the survey, GMH responded with its plan for corrective action. He notes that Dr. Bieling’s letter is an inception to that.

At this point, however, Camacho disagrees with Dr. Bieling characterization of the situation at GMH.

“When they come back, if we’re not doing what we say we’re supposed to be doing, then we would be ‘on the brink,'” he did, however, acknowledge.

Camacho also noted that there was separate inspection conducted by CMS with their areas of concern focused on the Skilled Nursing Unit. GMH responded with its plan of corrective action which CMS accepted with a pending review for the life safety measure.