By Nancy I. Maanao
A coronavirus relief package that stands a far better chance of being passed in Congress and signed by the President includes $446 million in hospital and critical infrastructure funding for Guam alone.
"This kind of money can get us a new (hospital) facility," Congressman Michael San Nicolas said in a news conference, where he spelled out the key components of a $2 trillion national package that will provide billions in relief for Guam.
Mr. San Nicolas said he is familiar with an April 8, 2020 report from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that detailed condemnable conditions of the Guam Memorial Hospital's current facility and recommended the construction of a new hospital.
The report discusses the danger and unreliability of the electrical distribution system, and how the hospital's structural integrity can't be properly ascertained because of the lack of blueprints for certain areas of the hospital. The problem is exacerbated by a leaking roof the U.S. ACE says must be replaced in its entirety. The roofing issues, moisture entering the hospital from walls that are cracking, single-paned windows not properly set, and negative pressure within the hospital also are causing mold growth inside GMH. Beyond these and other facility conditions, according to the report, major medical equipment has exceeded its useful life span.
"I'm familiar with the report, and that's why we're so excited about this possible $446 million," Mr. San Nicolas said. "A new hospital... I believe that's the best route. We also have to consider this a regional option for our brothers and sisters, and the building of capacity for our tourists. Covid-19 has underscored the need for us to ensure this $446 million is deployed with long-term solutions in mind."