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.