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Guam - Mental Health Director Wilfred Aflague Monday signed off on the Economic Impact Statement for the Fee Schedule for his Department.It means that patients at the Department of Mental Health will soon be charged for the services and medications they receive, and it could save GovGuam millions of dollars each year.
Aflague acted following an appeal from Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz who wrote the Director Friday urging him to move forward on the submission of a fee schedule for mental health patients.
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For years, patients at mental health have paid nothing for the services or medications provided by the agency. GovGuam has been forced to pick up the tab to the tune of about $14-million dollars annually.
If a fee scheduled were implemented, the Vice-Speaker says insurance plans and/or Medicare/Medicaid would picked up the costs and that could save GovGuam as much as $7-million dollars a year.
In his letter, Cruz reminded Aflague that Aflague himself had promised to have the fee schedule submitted to the legislature by May 14th and it is now nearly August.
The Vice Speaker says that the Legislature is in the midst of budget hearings, and negotiations are underway for next year's GovGuam health insurance plan and without the fee schedule, the potential savings can not be factored in.
READ the release from Vice-Speaker Cruz below:
Cruz: DMHSA Fee Schedule yet to be submitted; passage would save taxpayers millions
For Immediate Release
(July 30, 2012- Hagatna) Move forward with the fee schedule so insurance carriers carry the cost of mental health services. That is the message sent by Vice Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz in a letter transmitted Friday afternoon to Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Director Wilfred Aflague.
In a letter dated March 29th, 2012, DMHSA told the Vice Speaker that the fee schedule would be submitted by May 14th 2012. It is now late July. The Legislature must now prepare a budget for the upcoming fiscal year without the potential savings created by the fee schedule. The Vice Speaker also asked for a status report on the fee schedule’s Administrative Adjudication Process in the hope of finding out which steps have been completed.
“As illustrated in previous communications with both the Governor’s Office and the Director of DMHSA” said Cruz. “Implementation of the fee schedule will save the taxpayers a significant amount of money, and is at least one way to cut costs without cutting employee’s benefits or jeopardizing the Retirement Fund.”
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