Governor weighs in on medical malpractice bill

Gov Lou Leon Guerrero (PNC file photo)

More people have weighed in on the controversial medical malpractice bill, including Governor Lou Leon Guerrero.

The governor acknowledged both the good intent of the bill but also the threat to Guam’s healthcare system that the bill could inadvertently present.

“I am really hoping that the author of the legislation listen, and not put this bill on the floor, and go back and meet with the doctors, meet with the ones that make testimonies, meet with the attorneys, meet with the consumers, and have a much better, well-rounded, and more comprehensive information about it, and see if there’s something that can come out as a result of this,” the governor said in an interview with NewsTalk K57’s Patti Arroyo.

“I always believe that something good always comes out, even in controversial situations. Or even in a conflicting situation. Like most of the doctors said, there is a solution. But they don’t believe that Bill 112 is the solution,” the governor said.

A public hearing on Bill 112 Wednesday night at the Guam Legislature. The comments both for and against the controversial bill caused the hearing to stretch past the five-hour mark.

Although some testified in support of the bill, the medical community came out in force to oppose it.

The medical community cited concerns that Bill 112 would expose good practitioners to too much risk which will result in a mass exodus of healthcare providers.

Specialists are considered to be especially vulnerable because Guam’s relatively small population already makes it financially difficult for many to practice on island.

A solution that was suggested more than once was to make arbitration more affordable rather than do away with it.

After a long night of testimony, mostly against Bill 112, the bill’s primary sponsor, Speaker Therese Terlaje, said that she still hopes for a solution.

“I thank you so much for dedicating so much of your time tonight. For sharing your stories, your tragedies, for sharing your resumes, your skills, and your dedication to the people of Guam. That’s what we all have in common, so thank you very very much. And I do believe we can find a common ground. I’ve not lost hope on that,” the Speaker said.

The next public hearing will be this coming Monday from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.