Partial Renovation to Begin at Birthing Center But GMH Still Waiting on $7M


For about a year now, one of the island’s obstetricians has pushed for renovations to be made to the outdated maternity ward at the Guam Memorial Hospital. To get the gears going on the project, on January of this year, a bill which is now a public law, allowed GovGuam to borrow up to $7 million dollars to improve the maternity ward. Dr. Tom Shieh says although they still haven’t received the $7 million yet, they did receive $2.3 million from Compact Impact Aid so they can now start on renovations to the labor and delivery rooms at least.

Guam – Chairperson for Maternity Ward Renovations Dr. Tom Shieh says, “Labor and delivery, we’re ready to start. With $2.3 million from Compact Impact, I don’t know what we’re waiting for. Those are specific funds already dedicated. I think we should start with delivery. We just need to get the architect together and bid it out and that’s it.” 


Dr. Tom Shieh who pushed for the need to renovate the Guam Memorial Hospital’s maternity ward says after putting out the bid for the project, he expects construction to start on the Labor and Delivery rooms by January 2016. Shieh explains they have plans in place to phase the construction in so that there is no interruption in operations. But, that’s only for labor and delivery rooms. They’re still waiting for the Governor’s Office and the Guam Economic Development Authority for the $7 million to get started on the operating room, the nursery, and postpartum rooms. 

Shieh explains, “Right now, we budget it at $8.5 million. We got $2.3 million from Compact Impact Aid yesterday. We need $7 million from GEDA. Even if GEDA gives us the $7 million towards the tail end, we’re still going to be fine. We’re going to be over $9 million. The rest of the equipment, that’s not needed right away, that can come later. What I want to know is when we’re going to break ground. A lot of moms are wondering. We deliver over 250 babies at Guam Memorial Hospital so it’s important for us to get the answer to moms because it’s long overdue. It’s over 24 years old.”

A source tells PNC that GMH may be considering asking for a total of $12 million as opposed to the $7 million the law authorized them to borrow. Shieh says, “What GMH wanted to do…you see, for some reason, GovGuam always wants to add on things to it. The project itself if you look at the budget is not $12 million for the entire renovation. If you break it down and look at it, it’s $8.5 million that we actually need for the construction, everything else is icing on the cake. Equipment we need for future usage, that can wait until later on.”
So what exactly is planned for the entire renovation? He says, “You can expect at least 15 brand new delivery rooms. That’s the first phase. We want to get that done. A brand new operating room in case of emergency which is very important. The next stage will be the nursery where the outside corridor. We’re going to put that over there. The last phase is postpartum. This has to be done in three phases.”
However, as of now, there’s no time frame for those projects. 

Shieh says, “The timeline, that’s what the Governor has to ask. I really hope the Governor and GEDA put this on the fast track because mother and babies are priority. First I want to thank to governor for what he’s done so far. We want to make sure GEDA takes a hold of this because it’s a big investment, little money, but the return revenue for GMH will be far greater than what they invested in.”