Decreased Guam Hospital Budget Request Worries Administration

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Hospital CEO reports 2012 budget ‘erroneously prepared’

By Joy White

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, June 28, 2012) – At the Guam Memorial Hospital (GMH) budget hearing held yesterday, GMH acting CEO Jun Infante presented a proposed budget of $93 million for Fiscal Year 2013 – a 16.7 percent decrease from the $112 million requested by the hospital for FY2012.

During the hearing, senators expressed concerns that this proposed budget may be detrimental to the operations of the hospital and its ability to provide quality health care.

"Are you confident that with this budget we can provide quality care and retain accreditation?" asked Speaker Judi Won Pat, who was presiding over the hearing in place of Sen. Ben Pangelinan who is off-island.

GMH’s budget proposal reflects decreases across almost all divisions: supplies and materials, contractual services, equipment, operations, fiscal services, the medical division, the nursing services division, and the professional support division.

The administrative division was the only place that saw an increase, due to an additional $200,000 proposed for legal services.

The hospital attributed the budget request decrease to spending cuts in the areas of contractual services, supplies, equipment, personnel, and various GMH departments.

Another factor in the overall decrease in the hospital's budget request can be attributed to 164 vacant positions that upon further evaluation, the hospital decided it could do without. These positions have translated into about $4.35 million.

Instead of recruiting new nursing staff, the hospital is focused on replacing the nurses who resign or retire.

"We have just really consciously cut down on expenses. It’s a pleasant surprise to us too that we’re keeping it down," Infante said.

Error

He added: "And I believe that the 2012 budget was erroneously prepared." Infante reported a $948,000 error in the budget for 2012.

Discrepancies in last year’s budget can be determined by the amount of expenditures. Infante stated that of the $112 million requested for 2012, only $98 million had been used.

The main challenge the hospital faces is in billing and collections. Despite recent progress, there is still a large amount that has not been collected from different entities, including Medicare, Medicaid, MIP, and even private insurance companies.

"We’re paying for our own services," said Dr. Larry Lizama, GMH medical director.

The budget did not include the salary for GMH incoming CEO Joseph Verga.

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