Guam-Based Adventist Clinic Tells Patients to Prepare for Off-Island Care as Malpractice Rules Might Change
21 June 2021 | According to Pacific Daily News, Guam Seventh-day Adventist Clinic has told patients specialized treatment may require off-island travel as local senators consider changing Guam’s malpractice law.
If successful, Bill 112 would repeal the 1991 Guam Mandatory Medical Malpractice Arbitration Act which required medical malpractice claims to pass through a three-person arbitration panel.
Those against the current rules say the procedure is too costly and support a new setup where claims are screened by a magistrate judge, explains Pacific Daily News.
“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,” wrote Guam’s Speaker Therese Terlaje, announcing hearings for the bill.
The Adventist clinic has spoken against the bill. It said in a June 15 letter that in preparation for a potential change in the law, it “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.”
“Some of our patients, possibly you, might not be able to receive some of the highly complex care you need through the clinic,” said the Adventist clinic letter. “Rather than providing this care at the clinic, we are left with no other option to refer subspecialty care to specialists. For many of you, this will mean that you may have to travel off-island several times every year to receive your specialty care.”
Clinic doctors “do their best to meet your complete clinical needs. At times, the doctors must provide subspecialty care. On the U.S. mainland, many of the subspecialty cases would be referred to a subspecialist,” the letter said.
According to Pacific Daily News, hearings on the bill are scheduled from 5:00 to 8:30 p.m. July 7 and 12.