The Hospital Management Advisory Team met with GMH stakeholders to give more details about their GMH transformation proposal.
Guam – Guam Memorial Hospital stakeholders cautioned lawmakers to take a closer look before they criticize the governor’s plan to borrow money and raise taxes in order to overhaul the hospital.
They met today to better explain their plans for the hospital’s transformation.
The Hospital Management Advisory Team and members of Governor Eddie Calvo’s staff talked about why the governor’s proposal is needed. Governor Calvo’s bill seeks to raise at least $170 million, of which $30 million will eliminate the current debt, $15 million will work as a cushion and $125 million for capital improvement projects. Among the projects is building a new z wing that will be turned into an outpatient facility.
“Regardingt the radiology too, everyone needs to understand that the existing foot print of the radiology department is not sufficient to even meet the quality of care standards for the given spaces. We have a cardiac cath lab, it doesn’t meet federal standards,” says GMH Chief Planner William Kando.
With a new z wing and new state-of-the-art technology, Kando says the hospital will be able to treat all the patients who seek care. Chief of Radiology Dr. Nicole Dhanraj says GMH certainly has the number of patients, but lacks the number of equipment needed to treat them.
“When it comes to MRI, it’s a whole host of additional services. We have quite a bit of disease on the island that we certainly, there would be a continuous stream of revenue there and it just allows us, I mean the numbers speak for itself. We can certainly generate a significant amount of revenue within the department,” explains Dr. Dhanraj.
Medical Director Dr. Larry Lizama suggests shifting the insurance responsibility for patients through the use of an outpatient facility, like a renovated z wing. He says a patient’s length of stay would be reduced with expanded services and therefore the reimbursement rate would increase.
“As you can see there’s a major discrepancy in what we billed and what was collected. But we’re being paid at $1,100 a day. If we were to shift some of these patients into basically the observation category and project a 65 percent collection rate for the revenue–so two things that may go up wth the observation is the revenue collection, the revenue billed, because again if we can be efficient in getting our cat scan done as they walk in, getting the surgery done as they walk in, rather than three days of waiting, we can increase our revenue billed and hopefully revenue collected through the outpatient reimbursement model,” says Dr. Lizama.
Renovation of the z wing is a controversial area in the governor’s GMH proposal as the $125 million in funding will likely come from tax hikes and rate increases. But Kando says expansion of services to establish a center of excellence at GMH cannot be ignored.
“To those senators out there that can’t understand why we need to demolish and build the new z wing, they don’t understand our current problems. They, even more so than the HMAT team that we’ve been giving tours to of the hospital and showing our shortfalls, we need to give those senators a tour of this building and they need to understand our shortfalls so they won’t question why are we asking to demolish and build a new wing,” laments Kando.