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  • Pacific Island Times News Staff

GovGuam, USACE get the ball rolling on planning for new hospital

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Guam Memorial Hospital Aug. 16, 2021 to discuss plans for a new hospital on island. Photo courtesy of Adelup

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today met with officials of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH) to continue the discussion on plans for the construction of a new medical facility that will replace the aging government hospital.

“We’re here today because of the relationships we’ve established years ago,”

USACE Commander Lt. Col. Eric Marshall said during the meeting. “The Corps is really good at planning."

He said the USACE, which has 35,000 employees, has a pool of experts.

"We have the Research and Development Center in Pittsburgh, in Huntsville, we have our Center of Expertise for Medical Facilities, and we are also embedded with the other components of the federal government like the Veterans Affairs," Marshall said.

The governor's office said Leon Guerrero will formally submit a letter of engagement to USACE to assist with planning and oversight assistance for a Medical Center of Excellence, which she calls Sagan Hinemlo’, a place of healing.

Today's meeting picked up from discussions they had during their meeting in Hawaii on Aug. 3, according to the governor's office.

During her trip to Washington, D.C. and Honolulu last month, the governor met with national officials seeking funds for a new hospital estimated to cost $1 billion.

In a report released in March 2020, the USACE said it would cost $761 million to renovate the 46-year-old GMH, while the price tag for a brand-new medical facility is $743 million.

“The optimal solution to enhance health care services on Guam is the construction of a new medical campus on a site to be determined,” USACE stated in a draft report presented to GMH officials in March last year.

“We are grateful to Lt. Col. Marshall and his team for their time and commitment to this project, providing valuable insight and expertise we need to construct a Medical Center of Excellence for today and beyond,” the governor said. “I look forward to our formal engagement with USACE in executing a charette to bring together all our key stakeholders as we map out the future stages of our hospital plan.”

“It has been a pleasure to continue our work alongside the USACE team. Their assessments of the Guam Memorial Hospital prior to Covid-19 were pivotal in our Administration’s decision to construct a new public hospital, ultimately inspiring the creation of an all-encompassing medical campus that possesses the full capability of meeting the health needs of our people,” Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio said.

The U.S. Department of the Interior and the USACE conducted an onsite facilities infrastructure assessment of GMH in 2019.

The assessment concluded that the current infrastructure of the GMH facility is in an overall state of failure due to age, environmental exposure, lack of financial resources to support pre-planned capital infrastructure replacements, and lack of previous facilities design adherence to building codes.

Extensive repair and/or replacement of all GMH facility sections are required to ensure renewed compliance with hospital accreditation standards and to protect the life, health, and safety of staff, patients, and visitors.

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