by Mindy Aguon
Guam - $2,000,000 has been identified that can go to the immediate needs of cancer patients on Guam like 29-year-old Ryan Reyes who was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Reyes needs to undergo a stem cell transplant but Medicaid doesn't cover it.
Healthcare Committee chairman Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. introduced Bill 170, which would help bridge the gaps in services for the island's cancer patients by creating a Guam Cancer Assistance and Treatment Program. He told KUAM News, "What that does now is people who under MIP and Medicaid who are under those public assistance, can now apply for benefits from this program if the specific treatments that are ordered by their doctors are not covered. One of them is the stem cell transplant that people with Hodgkin's disease have."
The money is already available as it was set aside in compliance with Guam Public Law 29-19 from tobacco settlement asset backed bonds. The law had required the money be used by the hospital to enter into a public-private partnership for the operation of radiation therapy but that never happened.
Rodriguez says the bill will go up for a public hearing next week Thursday and the freshman senator is hopeful the bill can be addressed when lawmakers go into session next week.