Healthcare Troubles

Guam’s healthcare system appears to be coming apart at the seams. The doctors are in revolt against the hospital, with the OB/Gyn’s saying they will refuse to accept hospital house patients. House patients are people that show up at the hospital without any medical coverage or regular doctor. GMH forces the island’s doctors to treat these people in exchange for hospital privileges. The problem is GMH rarely pays the doctors for these visits, which can amount to over 50% of a physician’s practice for the obstetricians. The doctors are tired of this, and other problems with the high premiums for malpractice insurance on island.

The hospital is deeply in arrears, after losing over $10 million last year. Hospital administrator Bill McMillan said 40% of the hospital’s $100 million in expenditures must be written off because it must provide healthcare to the island’s indigent population and those with no health insurance.

And last week brought more bad news. The island’s only cancer treatment center will be closing in less than a month. The Cancer Institute of Guam will shutter its doors on April 8, forcing all those patients receiving chemotherapy to seek off island treatment. Not good, not good at all.