Guam – If you’ve just had a baby or will be delivering one soon at Guam Memorial Hospital, then you may not be able to obtain a social security card for your newborn. That is, if you are unable to make a payment toward your hospital bill.
A post on social media indicates that mothers are having issues with obtaining a social security number for their newborn as the Guam Memorial Hospital withholds necessary documents to apply for a social security number.
Based on the post, it appears that hospital protocol is to hold the newborn’s identity hostage if the baby’s parents are unable to pay a portion of the hospital bill upfront or if they refuse to sign a promissory note.
GMH’s CFO Benita Manglona acknowledged that a policy existed, but explained the reason for it, saying, “this process was in place since 2015 to ensure mothers add the babies to their insurance and or Medicaid or MIP. There is no incentive for them to come back. That has been the problem. We look for ways to collect but we do work with each patient.”
Manglona further states that many mothers do not follow up with the social security application until much later, leaving the hospital with unpaid charges.
A social security number is government issued and used to track your lifetime earnings and number of years worked, so that when it comes time to retire, or if social security disability income is necessary, the government can make a determination on your eligibility and your benefits.
It also serves as a unique identifying marker. Without a social security number, a person is unable to obtain identification cards, employment and other benefits.