Guam Legislature Takes Up Bill To Solve Hospital Budget Shortfall

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Governor want $6 million more for Medicaid spending

By Louella Losinio

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, July 6, 2014) – Gov. Eddie Calvo has called the Guam Legislature into session on Monday to tackle Bill 359, a measure which seeks to partially fund the budgetary shortfalls within the Guam Medicaid program of the Department of Public Health and Social Services by reprogramming and appropriating funds from the tobacco asset-backed bonds 2001 series B sub accounts.

In a statement, the governor said he hopes that senators approve a proposal to spend $6 million more on Medicaid for the remainder of the fiscal year, adding that the federal government will match the $6 million with funds based on Guam's share, which is $8 million.

"That is $14 million in total that essentially will fund the majority of the funding the hospital will need to pay for the treatment it provides to Medicaid patients," read a statement from Adelup.

According to Adelup, the Guam Memorial Hospital is just waiting for DPHSS to certify invoices and payments. The payments will cover the medical expenses of hospital patients with Medicaid as insurance.

The Governor's Office said the money is already in a bank account, but without legislative approval, the governor cannot spend it on Medicaid to help the hospital.

Bill 359

Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, author of Bill 359, said the program funding shortfall is directly due to the increasing indigent population, resulting in DPHSS being unable to fulfill its mandated responsibilities.

Moreover, the fiscal situation of the Medicaid program is exacerbating the burden being imposed upon GMH and throughout the already limited pool of private healthcare providers who accept Medicaid patients.

Aside from addressing the shortfall, the bill also seeks to develop a financial incentive program for the Medicaid beneficiaries and reduce expenditures associated with preventable conditions.

As set in Bill 359, around $7 million will be reprogrammed and appropriated from the tobacco asset backed bonds 2001 series B sub-accounts and divided into the following:

According to Adelup, the governor’s fiscal team has been searching for a revenue source since DPHSS and GMH officials started tracking increased usage of Medicaid at GMH. The team found funds leftover from the Tobacco Asset Backed Bonds 2001 Series B Sub-accounts and presented the solution to Rodriguez, who introduced the bill authorizing this spending.

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