Guam - The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has agreed to expand Medicaid services to the Philippines and other areas outside the United States. Governor Eddie Calvo made the announcement this morning at a ceremony when he signed an MOU that establishes a sister city agreement with Philippine Governor Amado Espino, Jr. of the Pangasinan Province.

Governor Calvo said, "For many years, many of our people who are insured would go to the Philippines for quality healthcare at many of your institutions out there. The unfortunate thing is that for many of our people who cannot afford healthcare those that are in our medically indigent program Medicaid they have not have that option. I want to thank the hardworking efforts of our congresswoman working in DC, as well as support from our legislators."

The historic change will happen once the Guam Medicaid Program amends its State Plan. The conditions under which Medicaid services may be covered include: emergency or medically-necessary services are not available on Guam; the out-of-country provider must be the nearest source of care; foreign providers must be JACHO-certified; and foreign providers must have a signed agreement with the Medicaid agency.

According to Healthcare Committee chair Senator Dennis Rodriguez, Jr. it's definitely good news, but efforts are also focused on similar designations for Medicare, which is designed to help with long-term care for the elderly.

He said, "The ultimate goal here is to get our man'amko who are under Medicare, and this is an issue even my office has been pushing very hard. With the congresswoman's office ultimately it would be the federal government who would approve this bit at the same time this is something that we need to work with our local physicians providers here because there's always been that concern that we're taking our services and shipping it out somewhere else and the governor made it clear and I thank him for making it clear these are services are for services not available on Guam, which we all know there are a lot of services that are not."

Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo meanwhile commented that coverage of certain Medicaid services outside the United States is already covered in other places. This change to Guam's State Plan brings it up to speed with other state policies and will allow the Guam Medicaid program to begin using this option.