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Senators propose tapping revenue surplus for maternity ward upgrade

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

Four senators have proposed a $15 million allocation for the renovation of the maternity ward at Guam Memorial Hospital.

The proposal, which has been offered as an amendment to the 2023 budget bill, identifies the administration's projected revenue surplus as a source of funding for the labor and delivery ward upgrades.

“During the discussions between senators and the Office of Finance and Budget, along with the administration's fiscal team, it was identified that there are projections of surplus revenues from the fund balance of the current fiscal year," said Sen. James Moylan, the main proponent of the amendment, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Telena Nelson, Joe San Agustin and Chris Duenas.

Last month, Moylan and Sens. Tony Ada, Chris Duenas and Frank Blas, proposed a public-private partnership approach to GMH renovation projects.

Moylan said the recently proposed amendment to the budget bill "would help expedite the process" and "make this expenditure a priority."

“I am optimistic that the amendment will pass, but then again, this is the legislative process, and I always remind myself to expect the unexpected," Moylan said.

Dr. Thomas Shieh, an ob-gyn, said fixing the maternity ward is long overdue. He posted pictures of the labor and delivery rooms on Facebook and red-marked their deficiencies.

Shieh, president of Guam Medical Association, slammed Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero for reneging on her election promise to fix GMH when she was first campaigning for governor.

"Supermajority of moms in labor are moved four times, using five different rooms. This is unacceptable," Shieh wrote on his Facebook page. "Had high hopes our governor would have renovated this already, especially with hundreds of millions in pandemic funds, this renovation would have served our mothers and babies well, but four years later -- nothing."

While promoting a "Vote4Change" tagline on his personal page, Shieh said GMA will not endorse candidates as a group.

"We never have. We are not a political action committee, and thus we should not be endorsing candidates, but we will continue our health advocacy efforts so we can save more lives," Shieh said.

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