Addressing the hospital crisis

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By Juan Flores

What if … our community insisted on and ensured that all residents receive 21st-century essential health care from our public hospital and Public Health clinics?

How can the governor, the senators and even the courts work on prioritizing resources so the compromises at the health facilities don’t lead to losing lives? What assurances can we get from our leaders that the “right to life” will be honored in determining how resources will be allocated, especially the time and energy it will take to address financial and procurement challenges?

We need to hear that someone is losing sleep over the issues at the Guam Memorial Hospital. We know that revenues from insurance companies, Medicare/Medicaid and direct payments are not meeting the demands for equipment, supplies and professional services that will have an impact on providing the right amount of care. If that continues to be true, what should be done? One approach is to run to the Legislature to secure more funding. That does not seem to be effective when allocations for tax dollars always lead to facing insufficient funds for “what we need” versus “what we would like to have.” Adequate health care is clearly a “need” rather than a “want.”

What other avenues can be taken to identify adequate funding, prioritize expenditures and provide the critical services, considering the expectations of the professionals at the hospital? How are the greatest financial, legal and health professional minds being brought to a table to map out an effective plan? We may all have faith that this is already taking place, but we’re not hearing about it. If any one of us finds ourselves or our loved ones at the hospital, will we be convinced that we will get the best possible care and ensure the likelihood we will be able to leave the hospital a little better than when we entered? We seem to be assured of the best care from the nurses, doctors and other staff members. We just keep hearing from them that they don’t always have the tools and supplies to do their best.

Our island community seems to face crises well when we put our hearts and minds to it. That has been true in the aftermath of natural disasters or impending events like FestPac. What’s happening at the hospital is a crisis. We will have confidence in what our leaders are doing if we know there is a viable plan. We also need to know that elements of the plan are being followed and that incremental successes have been achieved. We need to know that the sacrifices in some areas in our community are worth recognizing and living with for the sake of supporting the efforts for adequate health care at the hospital. As we have done in the past, we have to rally members of the community to stand behind our leaders, however they are to be identified and recognized, and make a hospital worthy of our community a reality.

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