Guam – Health Committee Chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez has introduced a new bill that proposes the elimination of GMH’s more than $20-million dollar debt.
The Senator has dubbed his measure the “GMHA Healthcare Trust and Development Act of 2013.”
Bill #20 would require GMH to adopt management and operational reforms in order to reduce its expenses. And it would impose a 4% fee on premiums collected from subscribers by health insurance companies on Guam.
That would raise an estimated $8.5 million each year which would be used to pay down the GMH debt.
Reacting to the proposal, Selectcare Administrator Frank Campillo said the cost would be passed on-to the subscribers. And the island community must decide if they want to support a bill that would subsidize medical care in this manner.
Senator Rodriguez also says that the money raised from the 4% fee on premiums would be used to build an Urgent Care Center on the hospital grounds, as well as to pay down GMH’s debt. The new center would treat non-emergency patients who are currently using the high cost services at GMH’s Emergency room.
“Seeing non-emergency patients in the Emergency Medicine (ER) Department” at GMH says Rodriguez “is an expensive, outdated, and inefficient use of hospital resources.”
READ Senator Rodriguez’s release in FULL below:
SENATOR DENNIS G. RODRIGUEZ, JR.
RODRIGUEZ PROPOSES PLAN FOR ELIMINATION OF HOSPTIAL DEBT
Bill No. 20-32 (COR)
“GMHA Healthcare Trust and Development Act of 2013”; funds operational improvements and construction of non-emergency care center at GMH.
For Immediate Release
Thursday January 17, 2013
Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr. has introduced Bill No. 20-32 (COR) to pay off the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority’s multi-million dollar debt, fund management and operational reforms, and reduce the strain placed on the hospital’s Emergency Medicine (ER) Department.
The GMHA HEALTHCARE TRUST AND DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2013 addresses GMHA’s chronic financial shortcomings by providing approximately $8.5 million annual revenue stream to GMH funded by a 4% fee assessed on premiums collected by health insurance companies that do business in Guam.
“It is well known that GMH is in a constant state of arrears that negatively impacts its business operations and creates barriers to improving patient services,” Senator Rodriguez stated.
“My plan is a necessary, realistic, viable and fair approach towards addressing the hospital’s ability to pay the $20 million it owes to the local businesses and healthcare professionals it contracts with for supplies and services,” he added.
In addition to paying off existing debt, the GMHA HEALTHCARE TRUST AND DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2013 requires GMH to adopt management and operational reforms that take into account the medical and socio-economic realities in our community.
“Examples of such reforms include implementation of computerized pharmaceutical utilization and treatment tracking systems, and modernized billing, collection, and procurement procedures. In addition, the legislation mandates GMH to establish and implement a plan of action for new revenue generating specialty medical services. Only after such reforms are adopted would the debt elimination loan kick in,” Senator Rodriguez said.
Additionally, a portion of the Healthcare Trust will go to build an Urgent or Primary Care Center on the hospital campus. This new center will receive non-emergency patients currently treated in the E.R. and free up emergency medicine resources for their intended use.
“Seeing non-emergency patients in the Emergency Medicine (ER) Department is an expensive, outdated, and inefficient use of hospital resources,” said Rodriguez, who chairs the Legislature’s Committee on
Health & Human Services. “Ending this holdover business practice from the last century will help raise the standard of care for all patients as we move forward in the 21st century,” Senator Rodriguez added.
The Health Committee Chairman said everyone has a stake in addressing the GMH debt. He noted it is an issue that has economic, health, and quality of life consequences for the entire community and said the GMHA HEALTHCARE TRUST AND DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2013 provides the ways and the means for Guam Memorial to finally be put on sound financial footing.
“This is a community hospital, and working together as one community we can retire the GMH debt and provide a reliable revenue stream to make the necessary strategic investments that will lead to an improved standard of care that benefits the entire community,” Rodriguez concluded.