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Legislative Chairman on the Committee on Health Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., announces several actions to improve the Guam healthcare system. A series of bills that address the chronic shortage of primary care providers, lack of access to our providers due to lack of insurance coverage and our ability to take advantage of future innovations were introduced Friday, June 23, 2017.  

First, a new approach in delivering government sponsored health plan. Bill 133-34  The “MAÑAINA YAN MAÑE’LU ISLAND COMMUNITY HEALTH PLAN OF 2017 will replace the Medically Indigent Program.  The program consists of three parts: Mañelu, Mañelu Plus and Mañaina care.  Government will no longer solely manage this program, but will enter into a public private partnership with local insurance companies to manage the care provided. The Mañelu plan is similar to the current plan and will cover patients meeting the 100% Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Mañelu Plus allows the FSM governments to contribute their Compact funds if so desired to increase eligibility up to 200% and finally Mañaina Care focuses on those benefits specifically needed for our elderly population. 

The companion bill addresses the Medicaid population through a pilot project that will expand eligibility from 108% FPL to 200% FPL. Bill 132-34, which will be known as “The HealthCare Para Todu Plan”. Unique in this approach is the funding in which Guam will access monies set aside by the Federal government pursuant to the Affordable Care Act.  Guam was not allowed to fully participate in ACA but was given an allocation to use. Using these funds in collaboration with an employer sponsored plan, Government of Guam contribution and an employee contribution spreads the cost among many and thus lessens the burden and puts insurance coverage within reach of approximately 16,000 residents. 

Bill 131-34, establishes safeguards in statue that would ensure health dollars are accurately used on claims and expenses that improve the quality of health care. In addition provides for a system of checks and balances to protect our people from any unnecessary increase in their health insurance premiums.   

To address the chronic shortage of providers a set of seven bills was also introduced today. Bill’s 127-34 through Bill 130-34addresses partnering with military providers and giving them a pathway to volunteer in the community.

 Bill 126-34 adds another category of provider to the primary care team called “assistant physician”. This position will create a pathway for medical school graduates that have not yet been matched to a residency to serve under local physicians under a collaborative practice agreement. 

Bill 125-34 addresses our relationship with foreign and domestic physicians not licensed on Guam. This bill puts in place a temporary permit that allows these professionals to work side by side with our local professionals for a limited time and for a specific purpose. 

Finally, Bill 124-34 will allow Guam to join 18 other states in the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact. This “behind the scenes” legislation makes it easier for physicians to obtain licenses to practice in multiple states. By joining this compact it increases the possibility of physicians coming to Guam and also may be incentive for military physicians to partner with our local physicians during their stay on Guam. 

Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr., Education Committee Chairman Senator Joe S. San Agustin,  Senators Morrison, Nelson, and Esteves introduced Bill 70-34 today relative to converting Simon A. Sanchez High School to a charter school as well as setting a clear path to finally construct a new Yigo campus.  

 

The bill is aimed to shift the burden of borrowing of over $100 million dollars through a previous bond-borrowing law to a prospective charter school, whereby, they would finance the construction of the new school and with the yearly allotments the charter school would receive which is pegged at $6500 per student.  Senator Rodriguez stated “This bill is intended to create a means to allow for the immediate rebuilding of the much-needed Simon A. Sanchez High, but not on the backs of our taxpayers, but to be paid for with annual allotments given to the charter school to educate their students.”

 

Bill 70-34 authorizes the ability to enter into a Long-term lease for the purpose of facilitating the financing, design, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of Simon A. Sanchez high school.  In addition, there would be no construction cost appropriation for the new Simon A. Sanchez High School as the costs for the construction will be amortized over many years and paid for within the budget allotments provided to the school.  Co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Joe San Agustin stated “This is a win-win for our community.  The residents of Yigo and students of Simon Sanchez will be able to finally get the new school they need and deserve. This bill if passed, will also provide our government the ways and means to address the needs of all other public schools on Guam.”

 

The rebuilding of Simon A. Sanchez has faced many challenges over the past several years.  Although authorized through public law, continued protests regarding the procurement and selection of the contractor tasked to build the new school continues to plague the efforts to make this new campus a reality.  “The Government of Guam continues to fail the People of Guam, the residents of Yigo, especially the students of Simon Sanchez High School, by not providing a safe learning environment for the high school students of Yigo, that many other Guam students enjoy.  This bill will create a mechanism for this much-needed Simon A. Sanchez High School re-build by eliminating the bureaucratic “red-tape” of government that has continued to fail our People.” Rodriguez stated.

 

For more information, please contact the office of Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr. at 649-8638.  Si Yu’os Ma’åse’!

Sen. Rodriguez introduced Bills 30-34 and 31-34 on Monday, February 27, with the hope of focusing on Guam's patients who are referred off island for treatment and businesses who want to set up shop on Guam.

Bill 30-34: Guam Medical Referral Office.

Link to Bill 30-34: http://www.guamlegislature.com/Bills_Introduced_34th/Bill%20No.%2030-34%20(COR).pdf

In this day and age,  all off island hospitals that service our residents provide transportation and coordination assistance when you use their facilities. There is no longer a need to expend taxpayer funds to pay for duplicated services. The FY 2016 3rd quarter report indicated the average cost to service a Guam resident in Manila was $407.15, in Los Angeles $693.52, in Hawaii $712.68.

"My bill will shift how your money is being spent by establishing a voucher system that would enable an eligible Guam resident to directly receive vouchers that may be used towards your lodging accommodations, ground transportation, or any other related expenses while you are traveling off island for medical care,"  Senator Rodriguez stated.

Preferably, this new Guam Medical Assistance Office should be operated by a not-for-profit organization to ensure the program is service driven, rather than profit centered. This bill establishes a cap of 15% for administrative costs, thereby ensuring taxpayers funds are maximized and go directly for our residents use.

Bill 31-34:  Permanent One Stop Business Licensing & Permitting Center.

Link to Bill 31-34: http://www.guamlegislature.com/Bills_Introduced_34th/Bill%20No.%2031-34%20(COR).pdf

Many of our residents who plan to open a business, whether big or small, often run the risk of long waits for permitting and licensing from our island's current One-Stop Permit Center.

Bill 31-34 will change the way this service is provided.

If enacted, the Bill will create a permanent One-Stop Business Licensing and Permitting Center under the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA).  GEDA will have purview over the operations of the center and will ensure that all agencies who are required to sign-off on permits are always available to ensure issuance of permits within a 3-day timeframe.  If this timeframe is not met, a 60-day conditional approval of the permit is issued.

Additionally, the GEDA Administrator will assume full Administrative purview of the Center and will be able to hire temporary, government of Guam retirees who may have previously held such positions for which are required to fulfill mandates, as well as private entities who may offer services of the same, also on a temporary basis in order to complete permitting processes.

"This bill will support our island's entrepreneurs who dedicate much of their life savings to building Guam and contributing to the economic landscape on Guam.  We must provide these investors, big and small, the tools to carry out their goals which, in turn, will benefit all our people," Sen. Rodriguez shared.

For more information on these Bills, please contact the office of Sen. Rodriguez.

 

Bill 3 Public Meeting

Legislative Health Committee Chairman of the I Mina Trentai Kuåttro Na Liheslaturan, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., whose committee has oversight of the Government of Guam Health Insurance Plan will be conducting public meetings in the villages to survey government of Guam employees, retirees, dependents, and the general public on the impact of Bill 3-34.

 

Bill 3-34, is an Act to amend §§ 4301(a) and 4302(c)(2), both of Article 3, Chapter 4, Title 4, Guam Code Annotated, relative to ensuring that only the most economical and beneficial healthcare insurance proposal plan for government of Guam employees and retirees and foster children is forwarded by the Government of Guam health insurance negotiating team to I Maga’låhen Guåhan for consideration; and to divesting the legislature of final approval authority over any contract entered into by I Maga’låhen Guåhan for the same, which received a public hearing today, February 10, 2017 seeks to revise the procurement practice of providing health insurance services to the government of Guam.

 

“I realize the importance of ensuring we are fiscally responsible with taxpayer resources, however, the government of Guam has a duty and responsibility to ensure its employees, retirees, and dependents have access to quality healthcare services. At a time when we are working hard to expand health insurance access to more of our people, eliminating or reducing services our government workforce has access to at this point is a step in the wrong direction.” According to Senator Rodriguez.

 

Bill 3-34 as introduced has the potential of shortchanging government of Guam employees, retirees, and dependents the opportunity to have access to all service providers, even more concerning, has the potential of eliminating existing healthcare services that are currently provided to members.  To ensure the government of Guam employees, retirees, dependents, and other taxpayers are heard, the Committee on Health will be conducting public meetings:

                  February 22, 2017, 6:30PM at the Dededo Senior Citizens Center

                  March 8, 2017, 6:30PM at the Tamuning Senior Citizen Center

                  March 22, 2017, 6:30PM at the Yona Community Center

 

Government of Guam employees, retirees, dependents, and the general public are encouraged to review Bill 3-34 and provide comment at any one of the public meetings scheduled.  Attendees will also be encouraged to provide their input on the services of the government of Guam health insurance plan they are currently enrolled with, the option of being able to choose the health insurance plan versus an exclusive plan that the government chooses for them, and any other feedback on the government of Guam’s health insurance plan.

 

Individuals needing special accommodations are asked to contact the office of Sen. Rodriguez at 649-8638/0511 or via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Link to Bill 3-34:  http://www.guamlegislature.com/Bills_Introduced_34th/Bill%20No.%203-34%20(COR).pdf

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The Committee on Military Affairs, under oversight Chairman, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., will host a Town Hall meeting at the Guam Legislature on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 5:30pm.

The Town Hall will feature presentations by various Veteran Service Organizations, public and private and will be on hand to provide information on the various services they provide.

All Veterans, Military Personnel and Veterans' Organizations are invited to participate and provide the Committee with their input on their issues of concern.

For more information, please contact the Office of Sen. Rodriguez via the website or at 649-8638/0511.

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