Pacific Daily News

HAGANTNA, Guam (Nov. 22, 2010) – The effort to build a private hospital in Dededo moved a step closer to reality last week after the Guam Healthcare and Hospital Development Foundation announced an investment group from Manila will commit half of the $198 million needed to complete the first phase of the facility.

As Guam desperately needs additional hospital beds, it's good news to hear of this effort moving forward. Often, GMH patients have had to wait long periods of time to get a bed, because the hospital becomes so busy and overcrowded.

Cash-strapped GMH simply doesn't have the resources to significantly expand its Tamuning facility. It can't even pay vendors the more than $14 million the hospital owes for supplies and services.

The new private hospital would add 130 much-needed hospital beds to our island. However, a new hospital alone cannot solve our community's health-care challenges.

The community must demand that our elected officials create programs that provide incentives to grow the island's health-care industry.

For the government to try to be everything to everybody, especially in the health-care industry, is ludicrous.

Elected officials can barely fund the island's only civilian hospital. Local law mandates the hospital provide treatment and care to anyone who walks through its doors, regardless of that person's ability to pay. Yet GovGuam has never ensured that GMH receives enough money to meet this mandate and pay its vendors on time -- Nor has anyone come up with a creative way to balance these responsibilities.

Guam is truly backwards when it comes to health care. Across the country, there are private hospitals, clinics, laboratories, etc., which service the health-care industry. Rather than take the time to identify which services are most needed, legislators issue the same rhetoric about the dangers of privatizing.

The rhetoric needs to stop. All that hot air isn't going to solve any of the issues facing the quality of health care on island. The new leadership has the op

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