THE Guam Memorial Hospital is disputing the claims made by Sen. Ben Pangelinan regarding the planned cancelation of TakeCare’s contract.
In a statement, GMH interim Administrator Rey Vega said it is not clear why Pangelinan is raising concern since the issue has already been resolved.
“We take great exception to his baseless accusations against the hospital. His statements serve no purpose but to divide the community even further against their only civilian hospital,” Vega said.
“This is a closed case. It's been amicably resolved for weeks now. The result of the financial audit about TakeCare's payment practices has nothing to do with the rate of denial concerns. Sen. Pangelinan, if he was paying attention to the issue the way he says he was, should know this full well. He should know the clear distinction between the pattern of payments and the rate of denial of coverage,” Vega said.
Vega further agreed with Gov. Eddie Calvo that the attack against GMH appears to be more of a political maneuver to score points this election year.
“We will have no part in it, except to clear the air about our position. He is impugning the integrity of very well-meaning people who are just trying to make the hospital better for its patients and their families,” Vega said.
Vega further asked that Pangelinan work with Sen. Dennis Rodriguez, the health committee chairman, in re-prioritizing funding so the hospital can more adequately serve the community and its growing medical needs.
Vega also asked that before legislators criticize the hospital again, they should make sure “their claims are truthful and factual” and that they also propose solutions, not just criticism.
“Have they themselves done what senators are supposed to do in providing the adequate funding GMH needs to meet all of the mandates the Legislature is demanding?” Vega asked.
Also disputing the allegations is GMH board chairman Lee Webber’s attorney, Peter Sgro, who is looking into filing legal charges against Pangelinan.
“All options are being considered except for the planning of an ethics complaint with the Guam Legislature,” said Sgro, who also released a statement that is printed in the Variety’s opinion section this issue.
In the statement, Sgro pointed out that “Pangelinan cannot in any manner whatsoever prove that the statements he made about Mr. Webber have any rationale connection to the conclusion he wrote in his press release. Despite the fact that Mr. Webber is a ‘public figure,’ the law is very clear that liability attaches when one makes false statements about another with malice and all disregard for the truth,” Sgro further stated.
Pangelinan earlier stated that Webber’s inclusion to a Guam delegation trip to Russia was “political payback.”
Meanwhile, Rodriguez said he cannot comment on Pangelinan’s statements or Sgro’s intentions to file a lawsuit.
He stressed, though, that the TakeCare issue is not yet closed as far as his committee is concerned.
“We’ve asked for the audit and now we have the audit. We’re going to have to find out more now from the minutes of the GMH board meeting. Then we move forward from there. My whole interest here is to ensure that actions taken are truly justified,” Rodriguez said.