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  • Pacific Island Times Staff

GMH fires back at Speaker Cruz; says it's not hiding problems

Guam Memorial says it's afraid of law suits if it makes problems threatening its accreditation public

GMH Administrator Peter John Camacho

In yet another instance of dueling press releases, Guam Memorial Hospital has crossed swords with Speaker B.J. Cruz who has insisted that GMH, which is demanding a 'dedicated funding source' to solve its decades long financial problems, level with the lawmakers on the 'problems' that the hospital says are threatening its accreditation.

This came up during a recent oversight hearing by the Committee on Health, Tourism, Military Affairs, and Senior Citizens. Chairperson Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr. asked for details on the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization's recent survey report that hospital officials have maintained publicly threatens GMH's accreditation.

GMH Administrator Peter John Camacho declined, citing advice by legal counsel that laying out specific problems would expose the hospital to lawsuits.

In a Tuesday release, Speaker Cruz said, "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."

The bill, heavily promoted by Adelup and GMH, would provide the $30-40 million required to fix the hospital's finances by largely eliminating exemptions from the gross receipts tax for local businesses. But Cruz says the money requires openness about what it's needed for. "[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 a letter to Calvo and Camacho.

A Wednesday release from GMH claimed to 'correct' Cruz' "mistaken assumption that GMH will not share findings with the Legislature." According to the release, Camacho has since written to Sen. Rodriguez, offering to release the accreditation survey findings to him "under strict confidentiality."

"“The initial concern raised by our legal counsel on releasing these documents," the GHM release continues, "is that it could expose the hospital to future litigation. After requesting special consideration for our oversight chair, legal counsel advised us that we may release the report to the senator in confidence. We have now followed this up with a similar request for Speaker Cruz.” GMH cautions both Senator Rodriguez and Speaker Cruz that releasing information in the report by themselves or their staff could expose the hospital to litigation and deteriorate [sic] patient care."


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