Healthcare bill drafted by lawyers, doctors and senators

by Sonya Artero, KUAM News
Tuesday, May 16, 2006

After a string of weekly meetings to address the medical malpractice liability cap, representatives from the island's medical and legal industries have joined legislators to reach an agreement to finalize the details of a drafted bill. Such was the word from president of the Guam Medical Society Dr. Geoffrey Galgo, who says the proposal entails that the Government of Guam will assume the risk for the first $500,000 in any malpractice award, through the Government Claims Act.

Anything in excess of $500,000 and physicians will have to assume the risks on their own or secure supplemental malpractice insurance. The total malpractice awards cannot exceed more than $1,000,000. In addition, Dr. Galgo says, as part of a give and take relationship those physicians interested in participating will be made to take care of both Medically Indigent Program and Medicaid patients. Besides increasing access to help the government take care of its underserved population, Galgo says this bill would also help recruit more medical specialists to the island.

Once the language is ironed out, the bill, which was co-sponsored by Speaker Mark Forbes (R) and Senator Bob Klitzkie (R) should be introduced in about four to six weeks.

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