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Tamuning, Guam. On Friday, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Rory Respicio, and Tommy Morrison introduced forward-looking legislation to promote our growing healthcare sector by reestablishing the Guam Bureau of Health Planning and Development under the Office of the Governor.  It would, as well, consolidate the Health Professional Licensing Office (HPLO) currently under the Department of Public Health.  A similar organization initiated with federal funding existed in the late 70’s to late 1990’s and was to be self-sufficient within 10 years; but was eliminated when federal funding was discontinued in 2001 and all personnel were relocated.

“Even as Guam’s healthcare sector grows with the addition of a new hospital and clinics, we are still facing the challenges of the ever increasing cost and complexity of providing healthcare or implementing the Affordable Care Act,”Senator Rodriguez stated. “It is critical to have a guiding Bureau which can develop a coordinated course for the development of Guam’s health care system.  There must be a reasoned approach which ensures we obtain needed services, while not negatively impacting existing services”.

The proposed GBHPD has, as a principal function, the responsibility for promoting accessibility for our people to quality health care services at reasonable costs.  This can be accomplished with a Certificate of Need process, review of health insurance plans, and the development of a Territorial Health Plan.  Rodriguez states, “we need to achieve sustainable economies of scale wherein developing health care services are complimentary, and not simply competitive based to the detriment of our existing health care system and available services.  More does not always mean better.  There must be a clear picture and dedicated effort towards health care development, to include the pursuit of health based grants.”  A Guam Health Coordinating Council, which is in essence a “Community Board” to strategically guide the Bureau, will also serve as the clearinghouse for both external / internal health related grants applicable to advancing the goals outlined in the Territorial Health Plan or other health initiatives.  Promoting collaboration with government agencies, health related not for profits and community based organizations in securing such grants will be a key component of the Bureau,” Rodriguez added.

A major service of the Bureau will be a Health Information Data Warehouse.  This function will consolidate many sources of health information and provide current, relevant information to decision makers from all sectors.  “The intent is to base health service development decisions on evidenced based information and serve as a tool to collaborate efforts among government agencies and health care providers, the general public and organizations.” Rodriguez concluded.


For more information on Bill -165-33, please contact us via this website or call our office.

For Immediate Release:
Tamuning, Guam. Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on Health, Economic Development, Homeland Security, and Senior Citizens issues the following statement in response to Finance Chairman Senator Michael San Nicolas' press conference this afternoon.
"Senator San Nicolas has obviously found himself in the corner and now desperately gasps for air as he attempts to cover up his mistake that cost our island the opportunity to save millions of dollars. Had the finance chairman done his job and conduct a public hearing on either Bill 34-33 and Bill 80-33 introduced on January 28 and April 20, 2015 respectively, we would not be at this juncture and our people would not have lost millions of dollars.  Both bills were reviewed by legal counsel and was drafted in close collaboration with finance experts at GEDA, the governments bond counsel and the governor's fiscal team.  
Despite Senator San Nicolas' objections to move forward with my bills, I constantly requested he have a public hearing on my bill so that our community can be heard and full transparency be achieved. I even had to tell him that the way to remedy any concerns raised is to substitute my bill in his committee.  He continued to refuse and now has cost the people of Guam resources that could have been used for other priorities. Instead of doing what every committee chairman is obligated to do, Senator San Nicolas introduced a similar, but flawed bill of his own (Bill 130-33).
I suggest Senator San Nicolas learn from this mistake and immediately act on other bills that have been introduced by other senators by having public hearings. Senators who have bills stuck in the Finance Committee are even willing to do all the leg work to issue committee reports, just to ensure important issues are pursued. We are a deliberative body, no one senator alone should dictate what bills are moved forward, after all we are all equal representatives of our people."

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This morning, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Chairman of the Committee on Health presented Legislative Certificates of Recognition to a few Cancer Survivors and Warriors; Madelyn Cruz, Cynthia Barcinas Kintol, Carolyn W. Cruz, Gloria W. Borja, and Darlene A. Roberto (not present) who had the courage to share their cancer stories live on a special television series – My Story ‘A Cancer Special’ produced by Sorensen Media Group.


It was just three months ago when the special television series – My Story ‘A Cancer Special’ first aired. Each month this special series allows the opportunity for two individual cancer survivors and warriors to share their cancer journey with all the people of Guam. This special series, produced by Sorensen Media Group was created to help raise awareness and educate the people of Guam on Cancer prevention.


Senator Rodriguez also presented a Legislative Certificate of Commendation to Sorensen Media Group for making the show possible. The presentations took place at the Pacific News Center Studio in Hagatña.




From front left: Gloria Borja, Madelyn Cruz, Cynthia Kintol, Louise Muna, and Senator Rodriguez. From back left: Carolyn Cruz and Jay Shedd, President, Sorensen Media Group. 



This morning, Senator Dennis G. Rodriguez, Jr., Chairman on the Committee on Health was joined by eight other colleagues, namely Speaker Judith Won Pat, Senators Tony Ada, Rory Respicio, Tina Barnes, BJ Cruz, Tommy Morrison, Brant McCreadie, and Nerissa Underwood in introducing Bill 143-33, a measure that expands the Natasha Protection Act of 2005 relative to smoking regulations, providing increased enforcement capabilities and training.

Members of the Non-Communicable Disease Consortium Tobacco Action Group, the Tobacco Prevention Control unit of the Department of Public Health & Social Services, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ASC-CAN), and Dr. John Ray Taitano, president of the Guam Medical Society accompanied Senator Rodriguez and Tony Ada in filing the bill at the Office of the Clerk of the Guam Legislature.

"Today marks an important day in promoting the health and welfare of our people as it relates to secondhand cigarette smoke.  This bill expands the no-smoking regulations to bars, promotes increased enforcement capabilities, and further protects our kids. I want to be perfectly clear that this is not about trampling on anyones right to make a decision for themselves, it is about being the voice for those who cannot speak up.  This is for those bartenders, entertainers, and other patrons of bars who for one reason or the other have to be inside a facility that currently allows cigarette use...It is about protecting their health and welfare."  Rodriguez shared with those present at this morning's filing of Bill 143-33.

Bill 143-33 will be referred to a standing legislative committee and a puiblic hearing scheduled thereafter.  Click here to view Bill 143-33