DOC’s former medical director and only physician at the time, Dr. Raja Saad, was released because of his “restricted” medical license.
Guam – While the Department of Corrections was forced to release their only physician, Dr. Raja Saad, from practicing at the prison compound, the new arrangement they have now with the Guam Memorial Hospital seems to be working out better for them. That’s according to Deputy Director Carla Borja. And because of this, DOC is hoping to make this partnership permanent.
It was rather abrupt, but their hands were tied, says Borja about how they were forced to release their medical director and only physician, Dr. Raja Saad. The revelation about Dr. Saad’s medical license came after an expert consultant was hired to assist the Attorney General’s Office in helping DOC come into compliance with a decades-long stipulated order.
“The whole time Dr. Saad has had a contract with DOC, his licesne has been restricted to the facility and it wasn’t until Dr. Wu had come in as the expert consultant for the AG’s Office did he advise us that we will not be in full compliance as long as we have a doctor that’s is restricted,” explains Borja.
To solve the problem, Borja says DOC and the Guam Memorial Hospital signed an MOU to allow the hospital to provide medical services to the prison population. It’s been about three weeks since and Borja says it’s working out for the better. With the new arrangement, DOC has turned its infirmary into a clinic that now has doctors and multiple nurses on a rotational basis more available to prisoners.
“We have 24-hour coverage so even after your 5 pm hour, even after the doctors are done with clinical practice and appointments, our officers, if there’s any medical issue during the evening, have the ability to call GMH and to call the doctors on standby,” notes Borja.
In fact, she says, DOC has been able to provide full physicals—something they’ve been unable to accomplish in the past. The AG’s Office is so pleased with this arrangement that they plan on making it a permanent deal.
“So right now we are still in transition of trying to figure out budgeting, staffing and whatever other needs need to be met in order to make that transition happen,” she says.
Once DOC is able to determine how much funding they will need to provide these services for the long terms, they will present that to the Legislature in their next budget hearing.
Borja emphasizes that DOC is working on providing all necessary services to include medical, behavioral health and dental.