Legislature(2005 - 2006)

2005-03-02 House Journal

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2005-03-02                     House Journal                      Page 0485
HB 193                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 193 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                       
the Governor, entitled:                                                                             
     "An Act relating to the licensing, regulation, enforcement, and                                
     appeal rights of ambulatory surgical centers, assisted living                                  
     homes, child care facilities, child placement agencies, foster                                 
     homes, free-standing birth centers, home health agencies, hospices                             
     or agencies providing hospice services, hospitals, intermediate                                
     care facilities for the mentally retarded, maternity homes, nursing                            
     facilities, residential child care facilities, residential psychiatric                         
     treatment centers, and rural health clinics; relating to criminal                              
     history requirements, and a registry, regarding certain licenses,                              
     certifications, approvals, and authorizations by the Department of                             
     Health and Social Services; making conforming amendments; and                                  
     providing for an effective date."                                                              
was read the first time and referred to the Health, Education & Social                              
Services, Judiciary, and Finance Committees.                                                        
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                 
1.  Zero, Dept. of Health & Social Services                                                         
2.  Fiscal, Dept. of Law                                                                            

2005-03-02                     House Journal                      Page 0486
The Governor's transmittal letter dated March 1, 2005, follows:                                     
"Dear Speaker Harris:                                                                               
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                          
transmitting a bill relating to consolidating the licensing functions of                            
the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).                                                
Executive Order No. 108, which took effect in 2003, reorganized the                                 
DHSS in an effort to streamline functions and make services more                                    
efficient and cost effective.  As part of that reorganization, DHSS is                              
consolidating all of its licensing functions.                                                       
Currently, there are at least 12 different statutory schemes for the                                
licensure of different entities by the DHSS.  The complexity of the                                 
existing statutes and regulations and the absence of any clear rationale                            
for the wide variation in standards for licensing, enforcement, and                                 
appeals has resulted in a very burdensome and bureaucratic system.                                  
The proposed bill will streamline the licensing process so that the                                 
functions are administered in a much more efficient and cost-effective                              
manner by consolidating virtually all of the licensing functions related                            
to standards, enforcement, and appeal rights into a single chapter of                               
the Alaska Statutes.                                                                                
In addition, the bill requires the DHSS to implement a single,                                      
consolidated background check process across all of its programs with                               
the goal of reducing the risk of abuse and neglect of vulnerable clients.                           
In December 2004, the DHSS was awarded a $4.9 million federal                                       
grant to conduct background checks for any new worker with direct                                   
patient care duties in nursing homes and other long-term care                                       
facilities, and to establish a comprehensive training program that will                             
meet the unique needs of workers in Alaska's long-term care system.                                 
This grant, in conjunction with the provisions of the legislation I am                              
proposing today will:                                                                               
     · Improve monitoring and enforcement of life, health, and                                      
         safety regulations for all DHSS long term-care programs.                                   
     · Extend background checks and fitness determinations to all                                   
         staff serving vulnerable populations.                                                      

2005-03-02                     House Journal                      Page 0487
     · Improve the overall safety and security of vulnerable                                        
         individuals in state licensed and certified long-term care                                 
Finally, this bill contemplates that at the same time that the statutory                            
changes would take effect, DHSS would have adopted regulations to                                   
implement these statutory changes.  It is anticipated that the resulting                            
regulations would further achieve the goal of efficiency and cost                                   
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                            
                                Sincerely yours,                                                    
                                Frank H. Murkowski