Guam Cancer Care cuts services; may have to shut down

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Guam Cancer Care Executive Director Terry Cuabo says even if they were to receive the funds soon, the grant would not cover the months lost since the beginning of the fiscal year.

A total of 1,144 cancer patients may not be able to receive access to the care they need because Guam Cancer Care, a local nonprofit organization, has not yet received grant funding from the Guam Cancer Trust Fund, which is managed by the University of Guam.

If this situation continues, Guam Cancer Care is considering completely closing its doors.

In about two to three weeks, local nonprofit Guam Cancer Care may have to shut down its services if they are not issued the Fiscal Year 2020 grant award from the Guam Cancer Trust Fund, which is handled by the University of Guam. The trust fund is the organization’s primary source of funding for its support services.

Earlier today, Guam Cancer Care announced that it is unable to provide financial assistance to patients due to a lack of available funds and that patient supplies such as wheelchairs and walkers are extremely limited.

In a memo to UOG from Guam Cancer Care’s legal counsel, the trust fund was made aware in November that Guam Cancer Care had “sufficient funding to cover its programs up to the first week of December 2019.”

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Guam Cancer Care Executive Director Terry Cuabo says even if they were to receive the funds soon, the grant would not cover the months lost since the beginning of the fiscal year.

“We’re entering the sixth month of the fiscal year and now they’re not making it retroactive, so all of our patients who were receiving assistance from October to February … their treatment or support services will not be covered based on what the University of Guam is proposing by making the grant year perspective. So that’s our dilemma,” Cuabo said.

The Guam Cancer Care legal counsel’s memo to UOG also asserts that the university broke a public law. They say that the intent of the law’s provision is for the trust fund to provide awards for the entire fiscal year.

Even in this situation, Cuabo says that the organization will try their best to continue providing services.

“It’s really disheartening. I mean, when we started this organization, we did it for them. When I speak for patients and I can’t help them, that’s the hardest part. I didn’t want to have to do this, but I have no choice. So we will do what we can and we will help them no matter what,” Cuabo said.

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