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Working to get medics on the road to recovery

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - Senators during session today, and began debating Bill 376 on the floor.  Because of the critical situation, public hearing requirements were waived on the bill, allowing it to be added immediately to the agenda. With amendments intact, the substitute version of the legislation is closer to the voting file. 

With bi-partisan support, the legislation tweaks the law creating the Fire Life And Medical Emergency Fund to allow for the use of proceeds to go toward the maintenance and repair of emergency vehicles such as ambulances. KUAM News has been tracking the shortage of ambulances for the last several weeks. Two weeks ago there was a point where only three were up and running to serve the entire population.

Last week a roundtable meeting was held, during which time the Guam Fire Department noted that eight ambulances were sitting at local repair shops waiting for payment. Two of which were sitting at the shop for about a year. It was revealed however that there was a zero cash balance in the FLAME Fund, but it could be easily dealt with by Governor Felix Camacho ensuring money is either transferred or paid into the fund.

The bill's co-sponsors are senators Ben Pangelinan and Ray Tenorio.  The former said, "Regardless of administrative process, we set about in this matter we still need cooperation and attention of the governor and lieutenant governor to effectuate this change that we're making of charging this repair against the account. And the chief has authority he can now authorize legally to use this fund to make those repairs."

And Senator Tenorio said, "And when the reconciliation occurs when the dollars in fund that due and payable to it, whether its transferred then I'm sure the governor and the Camacho/Cruz Administration is going to make sure that healthcare is in fact handled, that emergency medical services will be dealt with swiftly, we can't allow this to continue this is absolutely the critical most important things we do in our government."

This afternoon the substitute version of Bill 376 was passed unanimously.  Looking ahead, GFD is hoping to roll out two new ambulances in August with another five in November purchased through federal grant money.  They are also currently working on a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. military to hopefully get their medics when they are changed out.

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