Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519
04/07/2005 01:30 PM FINANCE
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HOUSE BILL NO. 123 "An Act relating to occupational licensing fees and receipts; extending the termination dates of the Boards of Barbers and Hairdressers, Social Work Examiners, Pharmacy, Professional Counselors, Psychologist and Psychological Associate Examiners, and Veterinary Examiners; relating to an exemption that allows one bill to continue more than one board, commission, or agency program; and providing for an effective date." JOSH APPLEBEE, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE TOM ANDERSON, sponsor of HB 123, explained that the bill extends the sunset for several boards. The dates were extended to meet the requirements of the legislative audit. Representative Weyhrauch wondered why the boards are audited together in this bill. Mr. Applebee replied that it is an experiment that has turned out not to be as efficient as originally intended. 2:53:41 PM Vice-Chair Stoltze asked why it is not efficient. Mr. Applebee explained that six boards were selected and soon different interests pulled the bill in different directions. Vice-Chair Stoltze opined that there could be a tendency to bog down on multiple sunsets. RICK URION, DIRECTOR, OCCUPATIONAL LICENSING, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, explained sections 1, 2, 3, 4, and 11 of the bill. He explained that what it costs to regulate a particular profession is what the license cost is. Fines generated can be used to establish fees for licensees. The law requires regulation by profession at the board level. For example if there was a case against a physician's assistant under existing law, whatever that cost is would be borne only by physician's assistants. Every licensed profession supports these amendments. 2:59:26 PM Vice-Chair Stoltze mentioned that barbers complain about bearing more costs due to tattoo artists' fines. He wondered if that is true. Mr. Urion said no. Vice-Chair Stoltze repeated that it is a big complaint. Mr. Urion said he could recall no complaints by the barber board. 3:02:10 PM ROBERT LANE, ALASKA PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, ANCHORAGE, (via teleconference) spoke in support of HB 123. He asked for an amendment that would keep license agreements reciprocal throughout the nation and Canada. CINDY BUEHLER, CHAIR, ALASKA STATE BOARD OF PHARMACY, ANCHORAGE, (via teleconference) voiced support of HB 123. 3:04:37 PM PAT DAVIDSON, LEGISLATIVE AUDITOR, LEGISLATIVE AUDIT DIVISION, spoke about audits conducted under the various boards and the recommendations for extensions. She elaborated upon each board's requirements. 3:08:03 PM Representative Weyhrauch referred to Section 11, the fee extension. Ms. Davidson noted that funds would be moved into a program receipt form. She observed that the fines and the penalties vary. She explained that individual boards vary greatly and gave examples. 3:10:25 PM Representative Weyhrauch questioned if general fund receipts would be needed. Ms. Davidson affirmed that they would. Vice-Chair Stoltze MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 1: Page 1, line 1 After "receipts;" Insert "licensing credentials;" Page 4 After line 21 Insert new section "* Sec. 11.AS 08.86.150 is amended to read: AS 08.86.150 License by credentials. A person who is licensed or certified as a psychologist by a licensing authority other than the state is entitled to be licensed in the state without examination of the person applies on the proper application form, submits proof of continued competence as required by regulation of the board, pays the credential review fee, and the person (1) holds a doctoral degree with primary emphasis on psychology that satisfies the requirements of AS 08.86.130 and the examination and qualification requirements for the person's out-of-state license or certificate were essentially similar to or higher than the examination and qualification requirements for licensure under this chapter; [OR] (2) is a diplomate in good standing of the American Board of Professional Psychology[.];or (3) is certified or registered with a credentialing organization in psychology approved by the board in regulation, and with requirements essentially similar to or higher than the requirements for licensure under this chapter. Renumber the remaining sections accordingly. Co-Chair Chenault OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion. JOHN WALSH, LOBBYIST, ALASKA PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, JUNEAU, explained that Amendment 1 expands AS 08.86.150, licensing by credentials, and allows a person who is certified by the American Board of Professional Psychology to be licensed, as well as a person who is registered by a credentialing organization that has been approved by the board. 3:13:08 PM Dr. Lane noted that there are two boards that keep track of credentials for purpose of certification. There are 26 states that have passed similar legislation. There are another 18 states in the works on similar legislation. He stressed that the amendment would allow Alaska to keep up with national trends. Co-Chair Chenault WITHDREW his OBJECTION. Mr. Walsh noted that the board would still be required to make regulations. There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 1 was adopted. 3:16:30 PM. Representative Weyhrauch MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2: Page 1, line 5, following "program;": Insert "providing that pharmacists are to be considered health care providers in all instances in the Alaska Statutes in which that term or its definition does not already contain an explicit reference to pharmacists;" Page 4, following line 21: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 11. AS 08.80 is amended by adding a new section to read: Sec. 08.80.015. Pharmacists as health care providers. In all instances in the Alaska Statutes in which the term "health care provider" or the definition of the term "health care provider" does not contain an explicit reference to pharmacist, the term "health care provider" shall be considered to refer to or include a pharmacist." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. Representative Hawker OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion. Vice-Chair Stoltze stated asked for additional information regarding costs. BARRY CHRISTENSEN, ALASKA PHARMACY ASSOCIATION, ANCHORAGE, (via teleconference) testified in support of the legislation. He noted that the amendment would recognize pharmacists as health care providers in Alaska for Medicaid purposes. The amendment would not change the scope of their practice. He maintained that there would be no increase in fiscal responsibility to pharmacists. 3:20:59 PM In response to a question by Co-Chair Chenault, Mr. Christensen acknowledged that the amendment would allow them to bill health care providers, but emphasized that it would not require them to pay. Co-Chair Chenault expressed concern that the amendment could result in a rather larger fiscal note. Vice-Chair Stoltze asked if the amendment would open the door for pharmacists to prescribe medications. 3:23:56 PM Mr. Christensen noted that the legislation would not expand the scope of practice. Vice-Chair Stoltze observed that simple issues can be expanded through the courts. He stressed that it is a major policy issue. CAREN ROBINSON, LOBBYIST, explained that the intent is to add the provider status language to the definition section. She maintained that would be an appropriate amendment. She referred to HB 95, a public health bill passed earlier this week, which defined health care providers. She also referred to HB 85, which allows young people to be able to carry aspirators in schools, and which also defined health care providers. She stated that there is no attempt to expand practice or service. 3:28:30 PM Representative Croft noted that it did not change the scope of the practice for pharmacists. Representative Hawker stated that he would not support the amendment because it would affect all sections of the bill and there has not been sufficient testimony on the fiscal note. He stressed that the legislation was intended as a board renewal. 3:30:33 PM Representative Kelly suggested a narrowing of the amendment. Ms. Robinson referred to the definition of pharmacist. She stated that the intent was to simply amend the definitions system by adding, "and who is thereby recognized as a health care provider by the state." Representative Weyhrauch acknowledged problems with the amendment's drafting. He WITHDREW Amendment 2.