Joint Commission pays GMH a visit for unannounced survey

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Guam Memorial Hospital (PNC file photo)

Guam – A week before the governor introduced a measure to fund the Guam Memorial Hospital by lifting tax exemptions for certain entities, the Joint Commission paid GMH a visit for an unannounced survey.

GMH CEO Peter John Camacho tells PNC that three surveyors came out to Guam and spent two days conducting an inspection at the deteriorating facility.

The results of the unannounced survey are expected to be issued within a few weeks. The audits were done a week before Governor Calvo announced his proposal to lift tax exemptions for wholesalers, banks and insurance companies in order to fund GMH.

In a release, the governor and other healthcare experts underscored the importance of funding what they described as a hospital that’s “falling apart as we speak.”

In the meantime, Camacho tells PNC News, GMH is doing everything it can to show the Joint Commission that they are committed to fixing the problems at GMH, adding, “We always want to be survey ready.”

The governor’s proposal, in the form of bill 230, proposes to lift tax exemptions for the wholesale, banking and insurance industries–an exemption these entities have enjoyed for decades–in order to fund the ailing hospital. Governor Calvo introduced his measure as a “compromise” legislation, adding that his office, and two other senators–Health Committee Chair Sen. Dennis Rodriguez Jr. and Speaker BJ Cruz–were in support of the measure.

In his weekly address, Governor Calvo stumps for the bill his administration calls a “bi-partisan compromise” that ends a months-long stalemate between he and the Speaker on how best to bail out GMH.

But hours after Governor Calvo unveiled his legislation, Sen. Rodriguez appeared to have a change of heart, saying he no longer wants a full repeal of these tax exemptions as it may double-tax consumers.

In his address released today, the governor used a softer touch to handle this objection than his past reactions which includes parking a hearse outside of the Guam Congress building as a metaphor for the deaths accumulating at the hospital while the legislature sits on the governor’s previous proposals.