The Guam Memorial Hospital has won two prestigious awards recognizing the hospital’s COVID-19 response.
In March 2020, as the world began grappling with COVID-19, so too did our Island; no one was safe from the pandemic. When the Governor of Guam declared a Public Health Emergency, she designated GMH as Guam’s COVID-hospital, plunging the institution into the forefront of the fight against the so-called “invisible enemy.”
GMH, Guam’s trusted public hospital for over 50 years, rose to the challenge. Not armed with much clinical data, experience, or specialized guidance on the management of COVID
patients, GMH staff showed up heroically for the battle call. Undoubtedly, there were anxieties, concerns, questions, and uncertainties among staff but despite it all, GMH’s employees, from medical to operations, and from maintenance to finance, all rose to the challenge. Their commitment to caring for Guam’s community was unfaltering.
This tremendous effort, together with other major achievements in response to the pandemic, has garnered Guam Memorial Hospital the two prestigious awards of Hospital of the Year and COVID Management Initiative of the Year on Guam at the Healthcare Asia Awards 2021.
“COVID truly challenged and pushed our GMH staff in every way. But in that difficulty, the best of the hospital’s community truly came out,” said GMH’s CEO Lillian Perez-Posadas. “As a prime example, hospital staff began offering themselves as ‘proxy’ family support for patients in-house, because visitation restrictions meant family members were not allowed to visit or be in the hospital. That’s true care and compassion. That’s our team at GMH!”
Healthcare Asia noted that among GMH’s significant achievements during the pandemic, the hospital:
– Implemented 40 protocols for the clinical and operational management of COVID-19;
– Established a state-of-the-art Telehealth/Telemedicine and Physical Rounder 2 Program to
sustain life-saving intensive and critical patient care services;
– Created a "War Room" Committee dedicated to the individual clinical management of COVID-
– Created a daily briefing document and daily COVID-huddles to ensure streamlined
communication amongst all branches of the hospital;
– And, established electronic daily wellness checks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19
amongst GMHA staff and keep up with crucial staffing levels.
All the while as COVID played out, regular operations and services that GMH is entrusted to deliver needed to continue. A major one is Maternal Child Health (MCH), including Labor and Delivery of COVID and non-COVID pregnant patients, OB Nursery/Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU), Pediatrics and Pediatric Intensive Care (PICU).
“I want to personally congratulate the extraordinary staff at the Guam Memorial Hospital for always rising to the occasion. Grounded by compassion, GMH is, and continues to be, a place of hope and healing in our darkest hours, and the COVID-19 pandemic was no different. With our healthcare heroes at the frontlines, our island overcame not one, but two surges. Moving forward, my administration remains committed to providing GMH the support and resources to continue its mission of providing exceptional medical care to the people of Guam,” said Governor Lou Leon Guerrero.
Guam Memorial Hospital also encompasses the Skilled Nursing Facility, which is a long-term care operation. As part of the Island’s COVID response, GMH staff worked to convert the building into a COVID Isolation Facility (CIF) to hold virus-patients who no longer needed acute hospital care but were not ready for complete discharge. This helped free up much-needed acute care beds at GMH.
Beyond our own walls, GMH also supported other Island front-liners in the fight against COVID. The hospital’s team trained Government-quarantine facility staff on proper infection control protocols. GMH employees also initiated N95 Fit Testing and Certification Training amongst several Government of Guam agencies and when the vaccines were ready, GMH was among the main sites for front-liners and Island residents to get their vaccinations.
“The risks that GMH staff took were unparalleled. Without question, teams prepared to treat and care for COVID and non-COVID patients. Led by little data in the flurry of the deadly virus, the hospital’s operation was turned upside down and still, staff, both clinical and non-clinical, demonstrated their unwavering cooperation and willingness to provide the needed care and treatment for the Island’s community,” said Theresa Obispo, Chair of Guam Memorial Hospital’s Board of Trustees. “Kudos to the entire GMH team for these awards.”
For all these reasons and more, Guam Memorial Hospital stood out to the awards committee and has deservingly won Hospital of the Year and COVID Management Initiative of the Year at the Healthcare Asia 2021 awards. GMH is among only 39 other winners across the entire Asia-Pacific region. In the category of Hospital of the Year, GMH is 1 of 6 winners, honored along with winners from India, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Indonesia; for COVID-19 initiative of the year, we’re 1 of 8 recipients, in the company of Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Oman, India and Thailand.
Healthcare Asia (HCA) is an industry magazine serving Asia’s hospital owners, investors, administrators and policymakers. It focuses on running healthcare organizations, both public and private, and discussing the policy issues that govern healthcare in the Asian region.
The Healthcare Asia Award is a prestigious awards program that honors hospitals and clinics that rise above challenges and recognizes initiatives that made a remarkable and positive impact on their patients and the healthcare industry.