by Mindy Aguon
Guam - There was debate at the Guam Legislature this afternoon on Bill 107, the Patient Protection Act, which seeks to give residents access to information about their physicians. At this time residents are unable to know whether their physician may have lost their license in another state, been sued for medical malpractice or if the doctor has been disciplined.
The bill's author, Senator Tina Muna Barnes, says the goal is for patients to truly be put in charge of their care by knowing their physician's background. Similar information is available on the National Practitioners Data Bank, but residents don't have access to that information.
Former Guam Board of Medical Examiners chairperson and Guam Medical Society president Dr. Jerone Landstrom, said, "Unfortunately on Guam this has not been readily available to the public and therefore I'm in support of this bill because I think it's very important that patients are very comfortable with the physicians that they're seeking help from and getting help from.'
Guam Medical Association president Dr. Thomas Sheih said the intent of the legislation is good to protect the public and hold physicians accountable, but he urged lawmakers to spend more time on refining the bill. "If you're going to hold the physicians accountable, then you also need to hold foreign physicians that are coming in accountable," he professed. "The question is where are you going to find the actual data for them? I think that's important for you to consider and take a look."
The Healthcare Committee will accept written testimony on the bill for another ten days.