Medical community slams Bill 112

Medical community slams Bill 112


Guam health care professionals met to discuss their opposition to Bill 112 at the Hyatt Regency Guam in Tumon.

The bill would remove the mandatory arbitration screening process for medical malpractice claims. The measure was introduced by Speaker Therese Terlaje.

The event was organized by the Guam Medical Association and Dr. Thomas Shieh.

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Medical professionals — doctors, surgeons, nurses, hospital staff and administrators — said the bill would drive medical workers off the island and impede medical professionals from giving patient care if they are constantly subject to frivolous or unfounded claims.

Opponents of the current law, which requires a three-person arbitration panel to resolve medical malpractice claims on Guam, say the arbitration requirement is too costly and discourages claims. Terlaje said freezing out claims from those who may not have the means to pursue arbitration was an injustice that needed to be solved. 

Bill 112 would replace the arbitration panel with a screening overseen by a magistrate judge. A claim would immediately be brought before a judge, which Shieh said would harm medical professionals if the judge doesn’t have a medical knowledge of the case. He also has said he would relocate to Hawaii if the measure passes.

Dr. Thomas Shieh speaks during medical press conference on Bill 112-36, which would make medical malpractice lawsuits more accessible to residents, Hyatt Regency Guam, Tumon, July 5, 2021.

A FHP Health Center and Take Care Insurance Company petition was signed by 121 employees.

“This bill will make it more difficult, if not impossible, to look for providers and specialists to move and practice on Guam,” the petition stated.

Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic notified patients that they might have to travel off-island for specialized treatment if the island’s malpractice law changes.

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