GMH Outstanding Debt Stands at $19.5 Million

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The Guam Memorial Hospital has a balance of $11 million in outstanding vendor payables. They also owe the Treasurer of Guam $4.1 million.

Guam – The Guam Memorial Hospital’s outstanding debt is once again reaching new heights, going from $16 million just four months ago to now $19 million, the bulk of which–or $11 million–is owed to various vendors.

Budget Chairman Vice Speaker BJ Cruz says GovGuam is running out of options to bail the hospital out.

“Well actually, I’ve been aware of the fact that they’ve been in financial trouble,” says Cruz.

It’s been a recurring theme, at least once a year sometimes several times a year, the Legislature or the Governor’s Office has had to come to the Guam Memorial Hospital’s rescue.

Cruz is the oversight Chairman of Budget and Finance. Last week Friday, he finally received documents he requested through the Freedom of Information Act showing that the hospital had a total outstanding debt of $19.5 million.

He says he’s been getting complaints from many of the hospital’s vendors.

“I just wanted to find out how bad the situation was,” he explains as his reason for sending a FOIA request on the hospital’s vendor payables. “Guam big pharmaceutical companies that were owed over a million dollars a piece, they’ve been trying to figure out how they could get the money. I mean some of them hadn’t received payments since March, or they have been at the million dollar mark since March and they’ve been getting paid down $50,000 a month rather than half a million a month.”

Just last week, Retirement Fund Director Paula Blas says GMH was behind on its retirement fund contributions. The balance they owe is over a million dollars. She says GMH is the only GovGuam agency behind on retirement fund payments and as a result, at least four GMH employees have been denied the ability to retire.

“I also spoke to the director of administration, Tony Blaz, and it’s not as if we had–if the Government of Guam had ignored the hospital. In my discussions with the director of administration, over the last fiscal year, the Government of Guam paid over almost $60 million to the hospital, in various, and these are subsidies, and the largest part of it is MIP and Medicaid,” he notes.

Although many efforts have been made in the past to keep the hospital afloat, Cruz says many of these were band aid fixes.

“Really, someone needs to come in and just do a walk through of, ‘This has got to be done, This has got to be done.’ We can’t just keep putting a band aid and having blood rushing out from some place else,” Cruz laments.

Just some of the bigger amounts GMH owes:

Utilities (Guam Power Authority, Guam Waterworks Authority and GTA) is at $1 million; $1 million to the retirement fund; $4.1 million to the Treasurer of Guam; $680,000 to Calvo’s Select Care; $490,000 to Diagnostic Laboratories; $1 million to J.C. Marketing; $954,000 to JMI-Edison; another $1 million to M.D. Wholesale; $802,000 to MedPHarm; $545,000 to their linen supplier Pacific Laundry; and finally the balance owed to Perry Point, a major federal contractor that has the ability to garnish Medicare reimbursements, is $1.2 million.

“When I got calls from the pharmaceutical companies on island, they were concerned about making their payments to their suppliers and they were concerned about making payments to their own employees. It just really is unfair to them,” says Cruz.

“We’re doing everything that we can as a legislative body. The executive, the governor’s really gonna have to step in at some point. I mean very, very, very soon. Like last week. Like last month, and go in and use his business acumen to try to assist in setting that hospital straight,” Cruz says.

Retirement Fund Director Paula Blas says that as of 4:30 pm Monday, GMH had not made any payments to the retirement fund. Their balance remains at about $1 million. Also, as of news time, GMH did not return our request for an updated balance as of close of business day Monday.