In response to statements made by physicians in a meeting held Monday, Speaker Therese Terlaje has issued the following statement:
“We need to stick to facts, not fear. Physicians have a big voice and great influence in our community and It is truly disheartening that some of the discussion on this bill has crossed a line into threats against patients, name calling and outright misinformation.
"The people of Guam deserve the facts and a safe space to have meaningful dialogue about their healthcare and their rights as patients. I want to share the facts about the bill and to encourage everyone to watch or attend the upcoming public hearings to decide how the proposal might impact their lives or how they can contribute to the discussion productively. I continue to welcome the doctors and patients to attend the hearings or to meet with me.
"There are several doctors who are very vocal who have canceled meetings or told me they would be in Hawaii and could not meet, while some never requested to meet with me and are demanding I “finally” meet with them. My door remains open and I will continue to discuss this with doctors and patients.
"I am trying to ensure that all in our community can participate, ask questions, and be heard.”
Bill 112-36 is intended to address those harmed by medical negligence who cannot afford approximately $40-50K for mandatory arbitration while ensuring confidential screening and protection of doctors against frivolous claims. The bill proposes to allow arbitration at reduced costs as agreed to by the parties and to enact a case screening system through a magistrate judge for those who do not agree to costly arbitration. Under the current law, costs of mandatory arbitration have deterred the filing of claims by those who cannot afford the upfront expenses, in addition to only having one year to raise the funds and file a claim.
Public Hearings on Wednesday, July 7th and Monday, July 12th at 5:00 p.m. -8:30 p.m.
Medical professionals and the public are invited to submit testimony on the bill on July 7th or July 12th at the Guam Congress Building or via Zoom. Those interested in presenting written or verbal testimony should contact the Office of Speaker Therese Terlaje at (671) 472-3586 or [email protected] by July 6, 2021.
All hearings will be broadcast on GTA TV Channel 21, Docomo Channel 117/112.4, and via Guam Legislature Media on Youtube. Recordings of the hearings will be available on the Guam Legislature Media YouTube Channel after the hearings.
All documents submitted relative to Bill 112-36 will be available at senatorterlaje.com. Reports on three hearings held during the 35th Guam Legislature on MMMAA can be found at https://guamlegislature.com/35th_comm_report.htm.
The bipartisan Bill 112 was sponsored by Therese M. Terlaje, Telo T. Taitague, Joanne Brown, Joe S. San Agustin, V. Anthony Ada, Telena C. Nelson, Christopher M. Duenas, Clynton E. Ridgell, Amanda L. Shelton, Jose Pedo Terlaje, and Sabina F. Perez.