Guam – Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz is calling attention to a discriminatory reimbursement practice under the Compact when it comes to providing hospital care for citizens of the Freely Associated States.
In letters to Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo and Assistant DOI Secretary Tony Babauta, Senator Cruz points out that the Compact of Free Association provides for reimbursement to DoD medical facilities, like Naval Hospital, when they provide medical care to FAS citizens. But the compact does not allow for Guam Memorial Hospital to be reimbursed for providing care to the same people.
In his letters Senator Cruz explains that the issue came up in a recent oversight hearing at GMH. And the Vice Speaker is calling on Bordallo and Babauta to seek changes to the Compact that will require Naval Hospital to accommodate all FAS citizens needing care or allow for GMH to get the same reimbursement that Naval Hospital now gets.
A release from the Senator quotes him as saying: “It is not my intention to sound heartless or cruel and I would never suggest the hospital deny providing care to anyone … However, we must acknowledge the reality that GMH does not have enough beds to accommodate everyone at a level of service we would like.”
READ Senator Cruz’s release in FULL below:
Vice Speaker: Hospital shortchanged by provision in Compact of Free Association
(February 1, 2012 – Hagåtña) The Compact sees fit to ensure Department of Defense medical facilities, such as the Naval Hospital, are reimbursed for the services they provide to citizens of the Freely Associated States on a space available basis. Yet, it leaves one to wonder why the Guam Memorial Hospital is not afforded the same level of consideration. That is what Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz told Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo and Assistant Secretary Anthony Babauta in letters sent this morning.
According to Section 104 7(A) of the Compact of Free Association, the Secretary of Defense shall make available, on a space available and reimbursable basis, the medical facilities of the Department of Defense for use by citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This issue was discussed at a recent oversight hearing at GMH.
Cruz called on Bordallo and Babauta to either accommodate all FAS residents at the Naval Hospital or see to it that GMH is treated no differently than its counterpart behind the Navy’s perimeter fence by reimbursing GMH.
“It is not my intention to sound heartless or cruel and I would never suggest the hospital deny providing care to anyone,” Cruz wrote. “However, we must acknowledge the reality that GMH does not have enough beds to accommodate everyone at a level of service we would like.”
Citing information provided daily on the front page of the Pacific Daily News, Cruz wrote that in 2011 there have been 166 days in which at least one person waited for a bed. He added there were days when up to 18 people waited for beds.