OPA says hospital collections lagged in FY 2018; GMH says collections and financial health better now

(PNC file photo)

Guam Memorial Hospital’s collection efforts continue to lag, the Office of Public Accountability reported in its latest audit.

According to OPA, the island’s only public hospital collected an average of only 72 cents for every $1 billed to third‐party payers during the last five years.

For self-pay patients, GMH’s collection rate is even lower at only 39 cents for every $1 billed.

Patients who were underinsured or without health insurance coverage racked up $28 million or 18 percent of the hospital’s grand total billings in fiscal year 2018.

Out of this billing total, GMH collected only $7.3 million or an average of 26 percent.

GMH continues to refer delinquent patient accounts receivable to the Department of Revenue and Taxation and the Office of the Attorney General.

All in all, OPA said the hospital’s uncollectible accounts are three times more than its collectible accounts.

To make matters worse, GMH experienced a reduction in patients since the opening of the Guam Regional Medical City private hospital in July 2015.

According to the audit, GMH’s patient count decreased by 29 percent from 46,000 in FY 2015 to only 32,000 in FY 2018.

GMH response

Despite the lag in collections and its ongoing financial struggles in fiscal year 2018, GMH management stated that it expects to be able to pay down its obligations and continue to improve.

GMH Administrator Lillian Posadas, during an interview at K57’s Patti Arroyo show, said that the fiscal year 2018 audit is not representative of what GMH’s condition is now.

In fact, Posadas said the public hospital’s collections have significantly improved along with its overall financial condition.