Medical and Public Health Services Action Plan Task Force launched

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Guam Memorial Hospital administrator Lillian Perez-Posadas. (PNC file photo)

Today, Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, members of the 36th Guam Legislature, the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH) Board of Trustees, and representatives from health, finance, construction, and government sectors held a virtual meeting for the launch of the Guam Medical and Public Health Services Action Plan Task Force, chaired by GMH Administrator Lillian Posadas.

The group’s goal is to build a regional medical and public health center to bring our island’s healthcare into the 21st century.

The meeting focused on organizing activities, establishing prospective subcommittees, and bringing the team up to date on the work that has been done in support of the project.

Administrator Posadas discussed GMH’s experiences during the pandemic’s peak, including limited resources such as storage space for safety equipment and limited morgue space, among other resource constraints. Guam’s only public hospital also had to suspend outpatient services and elective surgeries for a brief period, resulting in an estimated $10 million in financial losses.

In November 2019, at Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s request, the Army Corps of Engineers completed an assessment of the hospital facility. They recommended either a renovation estimated to be around $761 million or a new building estimated to be close to $743 million.

The Leon Guerrero-Tenorio Administration then applied for funding through the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to update and expand the 2012 hospital study to include the development of a medical complex with the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) and Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center (GBHWC). Additionally, the Department of Land Management (DLM) and GEDA have been surveying sites for consideration of the new build.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us just how fragile our healthcare system is, and we must begin the work of creating accessible healthcare for all. Our Administration’s goal is to break ground on a new Guam Memorial Hospital before the end of 2022. The different subject matter experts that are a part of this task force are all united by the idea that our people desperately need better healthcare right here at home. We cannot wait, and we will not wait,” said Governor Leon Guerrero.

The next step of the task force will be to expand upon baseline tasks outlined in the updated medical action plan study. Meetings at the subcommittee level will take place biweekly.

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