Thursday, December 10, 2009

DEIS healthcare needs projection disputed

DEIS healthcare needs projection disputed

Thursday, 10 December 2009 23:39 by Mar-Vic Cagurangan | Variety News Staff

THE population surge on Guam resulting from the troop buildup will require more medical professionals than the numbers projected by the military in its draft environmental impact statement, according to Peter Sgro, president of the Guam Healthcare Development Foundation.

According to the draft impact study, Guam will need only 15 more doctors and 91 additional nurses to serve the increased population in 2014, the peak year for construction boom.

“That seems much lower than what the healthcare demand of our community would need assuming an increase in population of over 60,000 people,” Sgro said. “As far as the private hospital development is concerned, we are running recruitment and retention numbers based on industry efficiency ratios of 2.5 to 3 employees per hospital bed.”

Sgro said the total number of additional needed employees, including doctors, nurses, technicians, management and administration, would run between 500 and 600, based on a 200-bed capacity hospital and depending on the combination of general and specialty services that will be provided.

Guam Memorial Hospital is the only public hospital that serves the civilian population. The Naval Hospital caters to the military community.

Sgro’s foundation is seeking to build a private hospital that will provide medical specialty care, supplementing the services offered by GMH.

“Manila based developers are responsible for securing the financing for the hospital, securing the investors in the project and purchasing the property where the development will take place,” Sgro said.

Developers Cezar Quimbao, Chairman of the Board of Guam Healthcare Development, Inc. and Jorge Yulo, President of Guam Healthcare Development, Inc., join Sgro in Pittsburgh for a series of meetings to address recruitment matters for the new hospital, design of the new hospital.

“We have recognized for the past two years that one of the biggest challenges in developing a hospital is the ability to staff it with doctors, nurses, technicians and other necessary employees,” Sgro said. “This is why we have continued our recruiting efforts since in the development of any hospital, the recruiting process often begins well in advance of completion of the design phase.”

The foundation continues to build relationships with reputable healthcare systems in an effort to recruit doctors, nurses, technicians and other medical professionals to Guam.

“This process has been ongoing now for the past years with visits to not just the states, but also with healthcare systems in Japan and the Philippines that maintain pools of doctors that are U.S.-board certified,” Sgro said.

“Although the establishment of these relationships in an effort to secure doctors, nurses and other medical professionals is important even without considering the military buildup, the realities of a growing population makes our efforts that much more important,” he added.

Pending in the legislature are two bills that seek to address the shortage of medical professionals on Guam by offering debt-payment incentives to physicians who are practicing off-shore. Under the proposed program, the government would cover the payments of target physicians’ medical student loans. The program would tap the Healthy Futures Fund.

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