Greece (MNN) ― Greece is risking default on its debt, the International Monetary Fund is considering a bailout, investors are demanding austerity, and thousands of demonstrators are defying the suggested measures.
A year into its bailout, the government's failure to execute promised reforms is costing it in fiscal credibility. The IMF is expected to announce its final decision on another bailout loan on June 20.
Greece, meanwhile, is scrambling to develop a response that will show they mean business. Government officials remodeled a privatization program, put shares of some ports and telecommunications up for sale, froze pensions, salaries, and cut benefits. The package should allow Greece to reduce its budget deficit by 7.5%.
Not everyone approves of the new measures. Hundreds of thousands of protestors camped out in the main city center in response. Paul Jenks with AMG International says it quickly became obvious that the first bailout loan wasn't big enough. Now, bankers are looking at approving another hundred million Euros to keep Greece afloat until 2015. Jenks adds, "That means every man woman and child in Greece, with these two loans, have taken on an indebtedness of $25,000."
The measures the government is taking may not be enough. "How Greece will be able to pay this back is a huge question mark." Jenks shares his concerns about how the privatizing could impact AMG International in Thessalonica. "Two huge areas of the economy are healthcare and education, which are primary funding targets for the government."
Already difficult budget cuts will become worse. Jenks says, "Because the healthcare is a public funded program and the government doesn't have ready cash, many times the claims are not being paid on a timely basis." The crisis has already hit hard at St. Luke's. "We're not being paid for the services that we're doing by the Greek government, and we need God to intervene in this."
This state-of-the-art facility is facing the most critical financial crisis in its 35-year history. Lenders want to see three to six million Euros added to the coffers, which is a bigger task than AMG can handle without God intervening. Jenks explains that "bridge loans need to be renegotiated in August. That's the precise issue of prayer: that we'll be able to find a way to assure the banks that we as an agency here in the U.S. are fully committed to the long-term viability of the hospital."
St. Luke's is a 270-bed medical facility whose staff of 500 serves more than 2,000 patients each month. 90% of patients are physician referrals. The hospital hosts nearly 80 surgical procedures each day, and 80 to 100 heart surgeries each month.
Without their work, patients are left with the alternative of government-run hospitals. Jenks notes that's why it's critical to keep the doors open. More than that, "We at AMG first and foremost are a mission agency. hospital was firmly established to give hope and the good news of Jesus Christ. That will not be compromised." However, he says, "On the more practical side, obviously we're going to have to tighten our belt and make sure that we stretch the resources that we do have even further."
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