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Guam legislature gears up for emergency session to tackle GMH crisis



By Pacific Island Times News Staff


The 37th Guam Legislature will hold an emergency session on Oct. 9 to address “urgent matters” at Guam Memorial Hospital that are “threatening the health and safety of the people of Guam.”


The emergency session agenda includes Bill 164-37, which proposes to appropriate emergency funding to GMH, and Resolution 215-37, which calls on the governor to declare a “state of extreme emergency” for the public hospital.


Speaker Therese Terlaje said the recent oversight hearing and the Office of Public Accountability’s audit confirmed that “emergency conditions exist” at GMH, justifying an emergency session.


The emergency session was requested by Sen. Frank Blas Jr., minority floor leader.


In a letter to Terlaje, Blas said Bill 164-37 was prompted by testimonies from the GMH management team.


“The hospital administrator and finance officer presented that GMH owed in excess of $30 million in vendor payments and needed to replace their two 450-ton chillers and electrical system,” Blas said.


“Furthermore, there are photographs circulating on social media that show decrepit conditions in and around the hospital and there has also been information shared of snake and rodent presence within the facility,” he added.


Blas also said the OPA's audit report highlighted "serious issues with the finances of GMH and calls to question the actions and inactions of GMH in the management of their finances."


Blas lashed back at the administration for blaming the legislature for the stalled new medical facility project.


"Based on the continued responses by the Leon Guerrero-Tenorio administration that attempts to lay blame for the inexcusable and deplorable conditions of GMH on the legislature, it obviously appears that the executive branch of our government refuses to acknowledge the decaying state of our hospital, the urgency that exists in our current facility, and the responsibility they have to the people of our island," Blas said.


The governor's office dismissed the Republican resolution "as nothing more than political grandstanding that ultimately calls for the government of Guam to give up some of its ability to self-govern."


Administration officials criticized the Republicans for considering a petition to place GMH under federal receivership.


" At a time when GovGuam is pushing for more self-governance and self-determination, the Republican party has decided to take a step backward and instead ask for more federal intervention by threatening to place GMH under federal receivership," reads a statement from Adelup.


"=While the Republican resolution includes quotes from the testimony of a certified critical care nurse during a GMH oversight hearing, this nurse also called for the construction of a new hospital," the governor's office said.



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