by Mindy Aguon
Guam - The Department of Public Health is working with 29-year-old Ryan Reyes, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma to get a second opinion on the treatment he needs to save his life. Reyes' doctor recommended that he go off-island to undergo high doses of chemotherapy and have a stem cell transplant.
But Medicaid does not cover the $100,000.
MIP and Medicaid administrator Tess Archangel says the department is trying to help Reyes, but resources under Medicaid are extremely limited. "All insurance companies even MIP have limitations. We used to have another medical assistance program for services not covered under Medicaid and MIP which is Catastrophic Illness Assistance Program but that program has not been funded for two or three years already," she said.
Another law was enacted last year creating a Guam Cancer Trust Fund that was supposed to provide monetary assistance to patients like Reyes who need it the most. Instead because the law was never fully implemented, $1.4 million sits in a bank account while Reyes seeks funding for the transplant that could save his life.
Public Health meanwhile has since referred Reyes to another oncologist on the island for a second opinion on what other treatment options are available to him.