COVID relief funds boost GMH finances

There are only 3 COVID-related hospitalizations at GMH. (PNC file photo).

While many Guam families, businesses, and GovGuam agencies have suffered millions of dollars in financial losses from the ongoing pandemic, the financial position of at least one GovGuam facility is better off — Guam Memorial Hospital.

PNC spoke with GMH Administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas who said the federal relief funds have helped improve the hospital’s financial position.

A perennial money loser whose annual deficits typically fall in the $20 to $30 million range, the balance sheet at Guam Memorial Hospital has improved in recent months.

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Lillian Perez-Posadas, GMH administrator, said: “Has this ongoing pandemic hurt the financial position of GMH? No. It hasn’t. In fact, really it’s helped the hospital. We’ve received quite a bit of CARES funds to help us. And so it has helped the hospital. How much? Collectively, we’ve received $4.5 million from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Medicare Advantage program. And then we’ve received an additional $11 million from the CARES ACT.”

Meanwhile, GMH continues to test individuals under investigation for possible exposure. But as of Monday, there were no COVID-19 patients hospitalized at GMH.

Posadas said the last COVID positive patient hospitalized at GMH was about two weeks ago and that person has since recovered and been released.

Hospital staff, she said, are preparing for the possibility of a second wave. They have expanded the number of care units at the hospital and they’re planning to upgrade the Skilled Nursing Facility in Barrigada Heights which is the designated isolation facility.

“Upgrading it with the capability so that an individual in there with COVID whose condition deteriorates … we can then keep that individual there and provide the acute critical care they need. Even if it’s an ICU level of care, we can contain that individual in that facility rather than transporting them back to GMH.”