HOSPITAL CHIEF GETS DEATH THREATS ON GUAM

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By Sunny Babauta and Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGATNA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Aug. 10) - — Administrator William McMillan of the Guam Memorial Hospital claimed yesterday that he had received death threats purportedly from people opposing the hospital administration’s reorganization plan.

McMillan added that besides threats to his life, the hospital also received bomb threats that prompted him to call the Guam Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactics.

In an interview with Variety, McMillan said he received the death threats last Wednesday, the day when the legislative committee on budgeting, appropriations and government reorganization held a public hearing on GMH’s proposed reorganization. The reorganization would involve the outsourcing of the hospital’s housekeeping and security departments.

GMH’s proposal to outsource the two departments is expected to displace 58 employees, but McMillan assured them that the GMH administration would find other work for them within the hospital.

"In the last public hearing, people were upset. We even got word that one of our employees said she wanted to kill the governor because he supports the reorganization," McMillan told Variety. "I have an open-door policy and I’m here for employees to voice their concerns but when someone crosses that line and threatens the safety of staff and patients then we have to take appropriate action."

Sen. Lou Leon Guerrero, chairwoman of the health and rules committee, is seeking an investigation into the alleged threats reported by McMillan. "Any threat to one’s life or to any establishment should be taken seriously. They have been reported to the Guam Police Department, which has the capacity to deal with situations like that and secure the hospital," Leon Guerrero said. "These things should be investigated. Our laws have major punishment for making bomb threats," she added.

The senator, however, advised McMillan not to jump to the conclusion by suggesting that the threat came from disgruntled employees.

"It’s not fair to immediately tie up that threat with people who oppose his reorganization proposal. Making such assumption is not appropriate," Leon Guerrero said.

McMillan said before the public hearing, GMH experienced isolated acts of vandalism, property destruction and theft. "Since the hearing, these acts have augmented to a bomb threat, personal threats to my personal being, and sabotage meant to significantly damage the building. Of greatest concern, however, have been the attacks that impact personnel. Nurses’ security lockers were (forced) open and the belongings of these critical staff stolen," McMillan added.

He added that a rash of theft within the building has also terrorized workers in the institution. "The hospital has responded by reporting incidents to police, and augmenting security through a 30-day outsourcing contract with the Pacific Security Alarm, a local company currently supporting security services at the hospital," McMillan said.

In his press release, McMillan said Pacific Security "was able to assist in re-securing the hospital after bomb threats at the Naval Hospital and Guam Memorial Hospital the day following a public hearing regarding outsourcing of security and environmental services."

Senators have expressed misgiving about the outsourcing plan saying it would cost rather than save the government more money.

Another senator wondered whether McMillan issued the press statement about the security concern in an effort to "win sympathy" toward his outsourcing proposal.

GMH has a proposed $43,000 security contract with Pacific Security.

McMillan told Variety that in June, the customized tubing for an oscillating ventilator to assist newborns with respiratory problems was cut. "The $45,000 ventilator had just been used to save a baby’s life," McMillan said. "It had to have been a staff member who was responsible for this selfish act because the machine was located in a secure area." The administrator said employee lockers, clinical equipment and vehicles were also vandalized.

August 10, 2004

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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