Patients, prepare for off-island care

Patients, prepare for off-island care


Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic recently notified patients that they might have to travel off-island for specialized treatment as senators consider changing the island’s malpractice law.

Bill 112 would repeal the Guam Mandatory Medical Malpractice Arbitration Act. The law, enacted in 1991, requires medical malpractice claims to go through a three-person arbitration panel, but opponents say that the requirement costs are too high. The bill would repeal that requirement and instead have claims screened by a magistrate judge.

“The measure is intended for those harmed by medical negligence who cannot afford mandatory arbitration while ensuring confidential screening and protection of doctors against frivolous claims,” Speaker Therese Terlaje wrote when she announced a series of hearings for the bill.

In preparation for a possible change to the law, SDA clinic “has had to make a very difficult decision to begin to take actionable steps to focus the care delivered at the clinic to the strict scope of practice of our trained staff,” according to the June 15 letter.

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