Guam Chamber of Commerce members were told that bringing GMH up to the standards of stateside hospitals won’t come cheap, with GMH CEO Peter John Camacho telling the business people that doing the job would require all of the $125 million that Governor Eddie Baza Calvo has proposed to borrow for this purpose
Camacho also promoted legislative initiatives by Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr., who recently introduced several bills that attempt to resolve long-standing health care issues, including a lack of specialists and non-insured Guam residents.
As has been well known but unaddressed for many years is that portions of the facility are falling apart, notably what’s known as the Z wing.
Camacho said demolition of the Z wing would clear the way for state-of-the-art treatments that would improve the quality of healthcare on Guam as well as creating a new stream of revenue to support the hospital.
The modernization plan referred to by Camacho has yet to be released.
Meanwhile, GMH Pediatric Doctor Shimabukuro and GMH Chief Financial Officer Benita Manglona put the human face on the need for modernization of the hospital.
Dr. Shimabukuro cited Guam’s 14.5 percent pediatric mortality rate, which she said is three times that of U.S. mainland.
"Why is our children, the future of Guam, dying,? Dr. Shimabukuro asked. “Why aren’t we investing in that? I believe, I believe from the bottom of my heart the inherent dignity of a child whether you are Chamorro or Japanese or Caucasian or maybe you are an immigrant. It doesn’t matter.”
Manglona emotionally recalled spending a year off-island as a family member suffered a catastrophic illness. “When you’re faced with a loved one who is dying, why can’t we provide that care on Guam? We need your help,” Manglona implored the business people. ”So please support the modernization of GMH so we can save lives.”