By Pacific Island Times News Staff
With fresh funds recently made available to Guam Memorial Hospital, there is no excuse to further delay actions to mitigate the mold issue at the medical facility, according to Sen. Frank F. Blas Jr.
“There is apparently a serious concern with mold in our hospital and I am quite bothered with the lack of urgency and transparency by the administration and the hospital," Blas said in a letter to Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
Blas asked the governor to order expeditious action to address the mold situation at GMH.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes that while mold is not uncommon in healthcare facilities for a myriad of reasons, it is a matter that should be consistently addressed so as not to exacerbate the health of care seekers and patients of the facility,” Blas said, noting that the problem has worsened as a result of Typhoon Mawar.
Blas said bureaucratic delays expose patients, employees and visitors to health risks.
He noted that it has been six months since the typhoon, and with available funding and a plan already prepared, there is no reason or justification to further postpone the resolution of the mold issue.
GMH recently received another $50 million subsidy from the general fund.
According to Blas, the mold issue is among the many healthcare-related issues that need to be resolved before conversations on where and the kind of healthcare facility that needs to be built continue.
“I’m not against building a new hospital. We need to. However, if we don’t fix the processes that have exacerbated our current healthcare system, we’re going to have the same old problems in a brand new facility,” Blas said.
“We need to address these issues today because people will have emergency healthcare needs today. Asthma attacks and heart failures will not wait until a new facility is built, and when it does happen, patients shouldn’t have to worry about getting a mold infection that could worsen their condition. Our people deserve the best healthcare that can be provided in the safest and cleanest hospital possible.”
Blas said the public has the right to know when the remediation will start and end, and what measures are being taken to ensure safety and quality.
"In addition, a contingency plan should be developed in case the mold spreads and causes an infection outbreak, requiring patient evacuation and relocation, as well as public notification," the senator said. "This is a matter of public health and trust, and we cannot afford to delay or ignore it.”