Senator James C. Moylan has introduced Bill 288-35, which seeks to jumpstart the intent of PL 35-36 and the recently passed Bill 210-35, which would provide the Guam Memorial Hospital $10,000,000 for infrastructure repairs.
Bill 288-35 jumpstarts the process authorized in PL 35-36 (as well as identified in Bill 210-35) by allowing GMH to begin the procurement to make the needed and identified repairs, and in lieu of cash payments, authorize the Guam Economic Development Authority to issue tax credits of an equal value.
Once the $10,000,000 is deposited into the Hospital Capital Improvement Fund, any amount issued in credits would be remitted back to the General Fund to avoid any further impacts on other operations.
At the end of the day, Moylan said this legislation would not cost the government any additional money, considering that the $10,000,000 has already been appropriated, and would allow the hospital management to begin the repairs while waiting for the administration to make the required deposit.
“I will be requesting Speaker Barnes to consider this legislation an urgent matter and because it authorizes a jumpstart of the recently passed Bill 210-35, that a public hearing be waived, since one was held on that very measure, and a special session be called. 13 senators unanimously agreed recently that the hospital needs the $10 million for repairs. 13 senators agreed in using the excess revenues from Fiscal Year 2019, so I am optimistic that these very senators will stand behind Bill 288-35 to allow GMH to begin the repairs,” Moylan said in a news release.
The monies identified in PL 35-36 and cemented in Bill 210-35 were to come from excess revenues derived in Fiscal Year 2019. For weeks, Moylan said he has been following up on the status of those monies, including a letter to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero but the senator said there has been no clear response from the administration.
The Department of Administration recently responded and stated that an audit continues on the FY19 budget and that the governor has indicated that she intends on utilizing any excess revenues to pay down debt.
“Enough is enough on this runaround. The hospital needed the money yesterday, as we have broken elevators and leaking roofs. Elected officials talk about making healthcare a priority during an election year, so let’s back the talk with some action. While $10 million dollars doesn’t solve all the problems with GMH, it is a start, but we can’t even get the decency of a response from the administration on when the monies will be provided to the hospital,” Moylan said.
He added: “I understand that the Governor wants to look into the possibility of building a new hospital, but that will take years. In the meantime our manamko have to climb stairs at GMH and patients have to face leaking roofs, so let’s at least prioritize the short term needs.”