A NEW FACILITY WON’T SOLVE GUAM’S HOSPITAL WOES

Commentary

By Jerone T. Landstrom

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Oct. 4) - The recent exciting news of building a new hospital on Guam to replace our aged and deteriorated current facility that 21st-century technology has left behind in the 20th century is for the best interest of all if the following are included in this endeavor.

First, it is just not a building (hardware), but it is a system of organization and management (software) that must be separated from election politics so that its mission of health care will not be impaired. We all know that GMHA has been "stacked" with employee voters with subsequent detrimental effects on operations. This has to stop, as this is one reason that we struggle to meet payroll or meet our vendor payments for essential supplies and medications.

Second, there must be a software change at the Guam Memorial Hospital Authority as this is the system that will allow the efficient and cost-effective new facility (hardware) to function properly and in accordance with the standard of care in the United States. This software change requires legislative will to allow for the reorganization at GMHA now, not after a new hospital is built.

If reorganization and privatization is not allowed, then our future new hospital will go the path of the current GMHA, where we have a beautiful new building that does not work as it should and will slowly lead to plant deterioration. This reorganization must include the disengagement of the Civil Service Commission from the current facility and a future new facility when reorganization occurs.

In summary, it is not just the building (hardware), it is the system (software) that has been in place since the beginning of the government of Guam that is preventing fundamental change to allow improvements at our current facility. Without changing the software, we will again be faced with a system failure and continued unsolved chronic health-care problems at our only civilian hospital.

Remember, the private sector that supports the operations of the tourist industry and the island's military demand an outstanding hospital. Anything less will impair our island's ability to grow economically.

Jerone T. Landstrom, MD, FACS, is a candidate running for the Guam Legislature.

October 5, 2004

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com

 

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