Multimedia Todu Guam Articles Improved Healthcare Access & Delivery for Guam On the Way

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. 

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