Governor promises to break ground on new hospital before the end of 2022

The decades-old Guam Memorial Hospital will soon be replaced by a new public hospital. (PNC file photo)

The island’s hospitals were honored Monday during a ceremony kicking off National Hospital Week.

National Hospital Week started out as a one-day celebration in 1921 in the wake of the Spanish Flu.

It turned into a week-long annual celebration in 1953.

As the world reels from the latest pandemic in the form of COVID-19, Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero honored Guam’s hospital workers with a proclamation.

“For the last 14 months, you have worked tirelessly to keep our people safe and healthy from an invisible enemy. You all stood on the front lines, risking your lives to protect our community. And we all know, GMH has been challenged for years, but our struggle with COVID-19 proved that it could, and will continue, to still be counted on. While hospitals…I’ve said this…hospitals that are far better funded than GMH crashed throughout the world, our men and women of our only public hospital stared down the waves of COVID-19,” Leon Guerrero said.

During her comments, the governor also reiterated her commitment to a new hospital.

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“I have tasked the Health Care Task Force with the community and stakeholder input to develop the plan for the construction of a new public hospital. This will be a bipartisan effort and the people of Guam will get the modern healthcare facility they deserve. I promise you that before the end of 2022, we will break ground on the new Guam Memorial Hospital. I know it’s an aggressive campaign, but everyone in the Healthcare Task Force is aware of this very aggressive deadline and working very hard to get to that,” Leon Guerrero said.

For his part, Lieutenant Governor Josh Tenorio made a point to reiterate that this week isn’t just a celebration of GMH but of GRMC and Naval Hospital as well.

He said it was the partnership among the three hospitals that aided in Guam’s response to the pandemic.

“I also want to join the governor and thank all of the hospital staff and employees…actually the staff and employees of all three hospitals. GMH led a very great partnership with GRMC and U.S. Naval Hospital, even pre-pandemic,” Tenorio said.