Bi-partisan resolution seeks congressional help in federal healthcare issues

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Committee on Economic Development, Power and Energy Utilities Chairman Sen. Clynt Ridgell is also hearing and accepting testimony on the appointments of David J. John and George Chiu to serve as a member of the board of directors of the Guam Economic Development Authority.

Press Release – A bi-partisan group of senators introduced Resolution 98-35 which sought the support of Congressman Michael F.Q. San Nicolas in addressing Guam’s healthcare issues with federal authorities.

Sen. James Moylan introduced the resolution. Senators Amanda Shelton, Therese Terlaje, and Speaker Tina Muna-Barnes co-sponsored the resolution that seeks to address seven areas of concern, including the following:

  • Guam Memorial Hospital reimbursement rates and fee schedules;
  • Medicaid matching for Guam;
  • Cancer assistance grants for Guam;
  • Individual health insurance subsidies;
  • Modernizing the communications of the healthcare system;
  • High costs of prescription drugs, and;
  • Out of hospital procedures.

“After several discussions with healthcare professionals on island, we have identified several concerns that require the Congressman’s support in reaching federal partners and beginning or enhancing the dialogue on healthcare issues plaguing our island,” said Moylan.

“We certainly hope this resolution creates a check list on healthcare issues that need to be
prioritized from a federal perspective,” Moylan added.

Resolution 98-35 not only addresses the concerns, but identifies some recommendations to
pursue the issue even further.

“The cost of medicine should be the last thing on the minds of our families fighting cancer.
With all the families affected by cancer in our community, we need to provide relief to our
people on the price of cancer related prescriptions. Additionally, we must utilize federal grants available to study the cause of such high rates of cancer on our island,” said
Shelton.

Resolution 98-35 also addresses issues such as the island’s healthcare technology and
communications, the rising costs of prescription drugs, as well as the limited availability of
limited specialized care providers.

“The limited healthcare technology and communications on island certainly needs modernization”, said Terlaje. “We need to seek special technical grants to
help update our healthcare infrastructure to yield better systems,” she added.

“With the cost of prescription drugs reaching unaffordable amounts, we need to seek a special exemption for the island to obtain the medication from neighboring countries”, said Muna Barnes. “One of the hindrances in the cost of medication is shipping from the mainland, thus this exemption may help many pockets, while providing the care to our residents.”

According to Moylan, with Guam’s unique geographical location, it is recommended to work with the Department of Interior to appoint an ombudsman or liaison to work with CMS to help bridge many of these healthcare concerns.

“We hope to get the support of the Congressman, and while we understand that this check list will take some time, we need to begin somewhere,” Moylan.