Meanwhile, GMH has until Wednesday by 5 pm to make a full payment to GWA or they will be disconnected by Thursday morning.
Guam – While the governor’s office says they are actively seeking solutions to their debt crisis, more and more vendors and bills are being left unpaid.
Meanwhile, the governor’s office says they’ve identified a potential candidate for the hospital CEO position.
Governor’s Press Secretary Oyaol Ngirairikl tells PNC that Governor Eddie Calvo met with GMH officials and the GMH Advisory team this morning to pore over some of the issues and identify more solutions to help the ailing hospital.
“They went through the finances and the financial processes of the hospital. The governor wants to make sure that they really get in and figure out what issues are costing GMH money and where they can cut down and cut back on costs, and where they need to move forward in being aggressive in collecting money,” Ngirairikl says.
But while the governor meets with hospital staff and advisors, their bills continue to pile up. It’s part of an ongoing crisis at the hospital.
Last month three board members abruptly stepped down. Then last week the hospital’s CEO Ted Lewis, who’s the fifth GMH CEO since the governor took office, also submitted his resignation after only serving for seven months.
The governor announced last week some policy changes and over the last few months they have identified some potential cost-saving efforts. But have they worked?
“GMH was able to work with some of the senators and they were able to get some of the increases and rates. Those bills are only just starting to come out now. I’m not quite sure, I don’t think we have a good measurement yet,” Ngirairikl says. “Also we’ve got the 75 percent payment requirement for insurance companies, that’s also is fairly new, but again we’re anticipating that’s going to net us some positive results. I know that they’re working with fiscal to look at where we might be paying a little more than we should be for certain services or where there were some oversight.”
The latest vendors threatening to cut services are the Guam Power Authority and the Guam Waterworks Authority. For water, spokesperson Heidi Ballendorf says GMH has until tomorrow (Wednesday) by 5 pm to make their balance current or face disconnection by Thursday morning. For power, their spokesperson Art Perez says GMH has until January 29 to pay their full balance of $540,000 or face disconnection. Both agencies have said that partial payments will not be accepted.
Now the GovGuam Retirement Fund Director Paula Blas says the hospital owes nearly $3 million which has made it impossible for GMH employees to retire.
But Ngirairikl assures the public that the governor is doing everything he can to keep the hospital afloat and she notes he could be naming a new CEO soon.
“I can tell you that the governor has reached out to someone and he’s just waiting to hear back,” Ngirairikl tells us, but she declined to provide the individual’s name.
The govern’s going to make sure that the hospital continues to run, continues to provide the services that the people of Guam and really the people in the region who rely on GMH–that they continue to receive those services,” says Ngirairikl.
Meanwhile, the governor’s office issued a press release late this afternoon announcing some of their latest findings that could help save GMH $2 million over a five year period. You can read the release from the governor’s office below:
Today, Governor Calvo ordered the hospital to take the necessary
steps to end double billing for a technology system that should have
been implemented since 2012.
“Over the course of two weeks, the Advisory Team has had in-depth discussions with hospital staff and determined that $250,000 a year for the past four years was unnecessarily spent on older financial software. This older software was supposed to be replaced by new software, which was only partially implemented,” stated Wil Castro, who is an Advisory Team member and Director of the Bureau of
Statistics and Plans.
“Fully replacing the system would have saved the government $1million in cash while also eliminating the need to manually reconcile billings.”
The Hospital Management Advisory Team established working subgroups made up of subject matter experts in order to provide a more forensic analysis and set of recommendations. The technology working group led by Chief Technology Officer Frank Lujan established that a full
conversion to a new technology system was to occur in 2012. However,
according to Frank Lujan, “GMHA was paying monthly licensing fees for
both a legacy system and a newer system at the same time.”
“Now that Governor Calvo has directed this matter be resolved as soon as practical, the hospital will save approximately $2 million over a 5-year period. In addition, Guam may be reimbursed up to $1 million from Medicare and Medicaid for upgrades to the same system if the hospital can demonstrate meaningful use after 90 days of the new system going live.”
HMAT and hospital staff agree that the corrective action will not only save millions but also significantly improve the hospital’s revenue management cycle, inclusive of billing and collections. This, in turn, may translate to millions of dollars in unrealized revenues.