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Speaker Cruz wants GMH to release evaluation threatening its accreditation

Hospital says it's desperate for funds to solve problems, but doesn't want to share those in report

Dr. Vincent A. Duenas

As the Guam Legislature considers an extensive tax proposal to save the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority from losing its accreditation, Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz says GMHA should provide a copy of its most recent hospital evaluation—making its case to the community it is now counting on for help.

In a Freedom of Information Act Request transmitted Tuesday, Cruz called on Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo and hospital administrator Peter John Camacho to publish the recent survey findings from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (“Joint Commission”)—findings which have led to a recommendation of preliminary denial of the hospital’s accreditation.

“No one can fully comprehend the day-to-day struggles of the doctors, nurses, and staff we rely on to save our lives—or the lives of those we love. But to help GMH, I must rely on your help, your full transparency, and faith that this community can deal with the truth—even when the truth may hurt,” said Cruz in his letter to Calvo and Camacho.

For the past several months, both the Calvo Administration and hospital management have asserted that the potential loss of accreditation is directly linked to a lack of funding for GMHA. Dr. Vincent A. Duenas, GMHA’s Medical Director, further reiterated this position, stating that “both lives and accreditation were at stake” due to an ostensible lack of financial support.

“I support Bill 230 in principle but the rest of the Legislature must weigh GMH’s immediate need for help against the economic consequences outlined at yesterday’s eight hour public hearing,” said Cruz. “To do this effectively, to demonstrate that money—not governance or policy—are at the center of this threat, GMH must allow a full and public review of the Joint Commission’s survey findings.”

Cruz maintains that a public review of the findings is crucial—not only for lawmakers to make an informed decision on the measure’s impact to the community, but also for the sake of the community itself.

“Through no fault of any one party or branch of government, a deep and disquieting mistrust has festered in our people. This mistrust—nourished by generations of bad decisions and empty promises—has made it so that our people believe government is the problem and not the solution,” said Cruz. “The only way I know to re-earn trust is to give it. That means GMH must bare its faults openly and honestly to the community it is now counting on for help.”

As a result, Cruz asked for all findings, survey reports, and correspondence from the Joint Commission which were the basis for GMH’s January 22nd announcement regarding the recommended loss of preliminary accreditation.

The appropriations chairman says that if the GMH Board chooses to assert an exemption under the FOIA law or board policy, Gov. Calvo must use his authority under §1421g (a) of the Organic Act of Guam and compel the Board of Trustees to publish the Joint Commission’s findings.

“Doing so will allow every member of our community and each senator on the floor to link the dollars we hope to raise to a clear list of achievable goals. Failing to do this will instead continue a malignant belief among our people: the belief that this will happen again, that it is only a matter of time, and that their sacrifice will be wasted” said Cruz.


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