Rodriguez Introduces His Own Version of GMH Bailout Bills

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Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. will also seek to refinance existing debt, however he is only proposing to do so in order to eliminate the hospital’s $30 million debt.

Guam – Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr. has his own ideas as to how to bail out the Guam Memorial Hospital. He introduced a set of bills that have some similarities to Governor Eddie Calvo’s GMH overhaul proposal.

 

However, Senator Rodriguez’s two measures also have some marked differences. Governor Calvo’s Bill 338 seeks to raise about $170 million through tax hikes, rate increases and refinancing of existing debt.

The $170 million would eliminate the $30 million vendor payable the hospital is currently in, provide $125 million for capital improvement projects and the rest would give GMH some variance and options as far as subsidizing health insurance for qualified employers.

Senator Rodriguez says he took the idea out of the governor’s bill for the funding source, but only to address certain areas.

“The big difference between my bill and governor’s proposal is that we only go out and seek to obtain funding for the vendor payables. The governor’s proposal seeks to obtain funding for capital improvement projects and so that’s not what my bill does,” explains Rodriguez.

The second measure the healthcare oversight chairman introduced proposes to increase rates and fees at GMH. Under current law, GMH is able to raise its rates by up to 5 percent annually.

Bill 341 will give the hospital the authority to increase its rates to match that of current Medicare rates.

“The second bill seeks to allow GMH to have some flexibility in terms of their rate structuring. It’s always been a big problem for them over the years–decades–that they haven’t moved forward in rate adjustments,” he says.

With regards to raising taxes, Senator Rodriguez says he is opposed to tax hikes at this time which is why he left that portion untouched.