Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/03/2004 03:04 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 337-ANATOMICAL GIFTS REGISTRY                                                                                              
[Contains discussion of SB 78]                                                                                                  
CHAIR  WILSON announced  that first  order of  business would  be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  337,  "An  Act  relating  to  anatomical  donor                                                               
registries,  to   an  anatomical  gift  awareness   fund,  to  an                                                               
anatomical gift awareness program,  and to motor vehicle licenses                                                               
and registrations."                                                                                                             
Number 0100                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON stated that CSHB 337(STA) was before the committee.                                                                
She told  the members that  this legislation will create  a donor                                                               
registry   program   in   which   a   donor's   Alaska   driver's                                                               
license/identification  information can  be  transferred to  Life                                                               
Alaska Donor  Services, the  state's donor  tissue program.   She                                                               
noted that several committee members had cosponsored this bill.                                                                 
Number 0152                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LESIL McGUIRE,  Alaska State Legislature, speaking                                                               
as sponsor  of HB 337,  called attention to  page 2, line  19, of                                                               
CSHB 337(STA), and explained that  subsection (b) simply restates                                                               
language  from  subsection (c)  of  the  original bill  and  also                                                               
deletes  subsection  (b)  of  the original  bill.    She  thanked                                                               
Representative Seaton for  his help during a  previous meeting in                                                               
clarifying  that  language  in   the  bill  was  unnecessary  and                                                               
possibly  confusing.   Representative  McGuire  stated that  this                                                               
bill is going to save lives.   She told the members that the bill                                                               
was brought  about by  a lot  of hard work  by Life  Alaska Donor                                                               
Services, LifeCenter  Northwest, and  many physicians  and nurses                                                               
across Alaska.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE explained that  Life Alaska Donor Services                                                               
created  the  first organ  and  tissue  donor registry  in  2001;                                                               
however, the  only problem  is that most  people in  Alaska don't                                                               
know how  to get their information  to that registry; it's  not a                                                               
well-known fact.   She said  the Division of Motor  Vehicles asks                                                               
residents if they  want to be an organ and  tissue donor and many                                                               
people agree  to do it.   An organ  and tissue donor  is provided                                                               
with a sticker  to put on his/her driver's license  or is given a                                                               
card, but  unless that  donor transfers  that information  to the                                                               
Life Alaska Donor  Services registry, it will not  become part of                                                               
the database.   She said  unless the donor's driver's  license is                                                               
on that person  at the time of  an accident, there is  no way for                                                               
[emergency]  responders  to know  that  person  is an  organ  and                                                               
tissue donor.   She  remarked, "What a  travesty, because  if you                                                               
really are and that's your intent, you could have saved a life."                                                                
Number 0375                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE explained  that the  bill authorizes  the                                                               
Division of Motor Vehicles to  transfer information from a person                                                               
who voluntarily  decides to be a  member of the organ  and tissue                                                               
donor registry.   She clarified  that three options  are offered.                                                               
The  first option  is  to decline  being a  donor  of organs  and                                                               
tissues.  The  second option is to  agree to be a  donor, but not                                                               
to be  part of  the registry.   There would be  a sticker  on the                                                               
individual's driver's  license, she added.   The third  option is                                                               
the  one  Representative McGuire  said  she  hopes Alaskans  will                                                               
choose, which  is to agree to  be a donor and  participate in the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  told the  members  that  a similar  bill                                                               
passed in Washington  State and there was an  86 percent increase                                                               
in the  registry.  Representative  McGuire said she hopes  to see                                                               
the same  thing happen in Alaska.   She explained that  there are                                                               
provisions in  the bill to  ensure that privacy is  protected and                                                               
that  any  misuse of  the  registry  will  result in  a  criminal                                                               
penalty.     Jill   Steinhaus,  Director   of  Development   from                                                               
LifeCenter  Northwest,  and  testifiers from  Life  Alaska  Donor                                                               
Services will  tell the committee  that [misuse of  the registry]                                                               
has never occurred.                                                                                                             
Number 0504                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE pointed  to  one other  provision in  the                                                               
bill called  the "Donate  a Dollar Program."   She  thanked Duane                                                               
Bannock, who is  the director of the Division  of Motor Vehicles,                                                               
for his work  with the interim working group  [in developing this                                                               
legislation].   The  way the  program  works is  that donors  may                                                               
donate $1  toward the Organ  and Tissue Donation  Awareness Fund.                                                               
These donations help to fund  the brochures that are printed that                                                               
inform people  about organ and  tissue donation.   Representative                                                               
McGuire said,  for example, that  she received a brochure  in her                                                               
recent  utility bill  that provided  information about  the donor                                                               
program,  how  it  saves  lives,  and  how  to  register.    Both                                                               
Washington  and Montana  have passed  similar bills,  and it  has                                                               
been quite successful, she added.                                                                                               
Number 0600                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE told  the members that the  final thing to                                                               
note is  that the State  of Alaska is  changing to a  new license                                                               
system.    She explained  that  when  individuals get  their  new                                                               
digital driver's license,  it will not be in  the plastic coating                                                               
as  it is  now; it  will be  similar  to a  credit card.   If  an                                                               
individual agrees  to be a  donor, there will  be a heart  on the                                                               
driver's  license itself,  rather than  a sticker  that could  be                                                               
rubbed  off.   On a  legal  note, she  stated, this  is the  best                                                               
possible  way  for an  individual  to  convey his/her  wishes  to                                                               
family  in  a  final  and  legal  way.    Representative  McGuire                                                               
explained that  in the past  there were problems created  when an                                                               
individual  wanted to  be a  donor, got  a sticker,  but was  not                                                               
listed in the registry.  There  was a potential for problems with                                                               
family  members  who might  contest  whether  it was  really  the                                                               
individual's  will  or not;  since  the  person  was not  in  the                                                               
registry, maybe the person had changed his/her mind.                                                                            
Number 0670                                                                                                                     
JILL  STEINHAUS, Director  of Development,  LifeCenter Northwest,                                                               
testified in  support of HB  337 and answered questions  from the                                                               
members.    She  explained  that LifeCenter  Northwest  works  in                                                               
cooperation  with Life  Alaska Donor  Services  to provide  organ                                                               
services in  Alaska.  This  legislation will help to  ensure that                                                               
more Alaskans  are able to  make their wishes of  donations known                                                               
and ensures that more  lives are able to be saved.   She told the                                                               
members  that  last  year  similar  legislation  passed  both  in                                                               
Washington and  Montana.  In  the last  six months of  2003 there                                                               
were 135  organ donors; 106 of  them were a direct  result of the                                                               
donor  designation  or  registry  system.   If  this  legislation                                                               
passes  this  year,  she  stated, there  will  be  a  significant                                                               
increase in the number of lives saved.                                                                                          
Number 0783                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL asked  Representative  McGuire about  the                                                               
Department of Health and Social  Services' comments on the fiscal                                                               
note.   He said he surmises  that the Division of  Motor Vehicles                                                               
would  handle  the  information  as it  comes  in;  however,  the                                                               
Department  of Health  and Social  Services was  not sure  if the                                                               
department  would  be  [the  responsible  agency  for  the  donor                                                               
registry].     Representative   Coghill   asked   who  would   be                                                               
responsible  for  the management  of  the  registry and  donation                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  responded  that the  Division  of  Motor                                                               
Vehicles would be the collector  [of the funds] and would forward                                                               
the  money on  to  Life  Alaska Donor  Services.    She told  the                                                               
members that  the only role  the Department of Health  and Social                                                               
Services will have in this  program is certifying those organ and                                                               
tissue donation centers that would  be eligible to participate in                                                               
the registry  and be classified as  such.  An earlier  version of                                                               
the  bill referred  to  a procurement  organization,  and it  was                                                               
decided that the  Department of Health and  Social Services would                                                               
be the best department to make the delineation.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  asked if there  would be a cost  in using                                                               
the  registry.   For  instance,  would  doctors or  hospitals  be                                                               
charged a fee to access the registry, he asked.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  responded that there  will be no  cost to                                                               
access the  registry for those who  are qualified to do  so.  She                                                               
pointed out that  the reason for the Donate a  Dollar Program was                                                               
to help offset the cost of maintaining the registry.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL pointed to page  2, lines 27 and 28, where                                                               
it says in  part, "A procurement organization  that has requested                                                               
registry   information  from   the  department   shall  pay   the                                                               
reasonable   costs   associated   with  the   creation   by   the                                                               
organization of a registry".   Who is this language referring to,                                                               
he asked.                                                                                                                       
Number 1069                                                                                                                     
HEATH  HILYARD, Staff  to  Representative  Lesil McGuire,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature, testified  on HB  337 and  answered questions                                                               
from  the  members.   In  response  to  Representative  Coghill's                                                               
inquiry,  he said  that he  understands there  will be  a certain                                                               
administrative cost  associated with  the setup of  the registry.                                                               
He  added that  this is  distinctly different  from the  Donate a                                                               
Dollar  [Program] fund  and the  Anatomical Gift  Awareness Fund,                                                               
which is  primarily designed to  cover the costs  associated with                                                               
marketing materials.   Mr. Hilyard explained that  there was some                                                               
discussion  about the  possibility  of  appropriating some  funds                                                               
coming from  the Anatomical  Gift Awareness  Fund to  help offset                                                               
some of  the costs  in establishing  the registry.   There  is no                                                               
definitive answer  on that yet.   The Donate a Dollar  Program is                                                               
primarily  used for  the production  of  marketing materials,  he                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL asked  for clarification  on who  will be                                                               
responsible for paying for the creation of the registry.                                                                        
Number 1080                                                                                                                     
MS.  STEINHAUS  said  in  response  to  Representative  Coghill's                                                               
question that the  language he referred to is in  place to ensure                                                               
that  the Alaska  state  government is  not  responsible for  the                                                               
funding [of the  creation and maintenance] of the  registry.  The                                                               
procurement organizations  that provides services in  Alaska will                                                               
be responsible  for this funding.   Ms. Steinhaus  explained that                                                               
the organization  she represents, LifeCenter Northwest,  will pay                                                               
100 percent  of the development  cost of getting the  registry up                                                               
and running, and of maintaining the system in Alaska.                                                                           
Number 1134                                                                                                                     
MS. STEINHAUS said  in response to a further  question that there                                                               
will be  a billing process  established that does not  impact the                                                               
[Division of Motor Vehicles].                                                                                                   
Number 1159                                                                                                                     
DUANE BANNOCK,  Director, Division of Motor  Vehicles, Department                                                               
of Administration, testified in support  of HB 337.  He commented                                                               
that the Division  of Motor Vehicles will be  responsible for the                                                               
creation  of   the  data  transmission  and   has  estimated  the                                                               
approximate  cost to  be  $7,000.   Mr.  Bannock summarized  that                                                               
there will be no  net cost to the State of Alaska  as a result of                                                               
this [registry].                                                                                                                
Number 1204                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA asked  for clarification  of the  roles of                                                               
the  Department  of  Transportation and  Public  Facilities,  the                                                               
Department of Health  and Social Services, and  the Department of                                                               
Administration.  She referred to page  2, line 12 through the end                                                               
of  the page.   Representative  Cissna commented  that she  would                                                               
like to know that state employees will not be overburdened.                                                                     
Number 1283                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE responded that  this is not as complicated                                                               
as it appears.   She explained that the reason  the Department of                                                               
Administration is mentioned is due  to the fact that the Division                                                               
of Motor Vehicles is under the  umbrella of that department.  She                                                               
reiterated that  it is the  Division of Motor Vehicles  that will                                                               
be  the  collector  of  the  money and  that  will  maintain  the                                                               
registry.   She  went on  to  explain that  it is  not the  state                                                               
Department  of   Health  and  Social   Services,  but   the  U.S.                                                               
Department of Health  and Human Services that will  be making the                                                               
determination as to  whether or not an  organization qualifies to                                                               
be a  procurement organization for  tissue and organ donors.   It                                                               
is very  important that  these centers  apply through  the [U.S.]                                                               
[Department of] Health  and Human Services.   She summarized that                                                               
there  is  no state  Department  of  Health and  Social  Services                                                               
impact, only the Department of  Administration, Division of Motor                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   McGUIRE  responded   to  Representative   Cissna                                                               
concern  for  staffing by  saying  that  Duane Bannock  has  been                                                               
involved in  the development of  this bill for that  very reason.                                                               
She  told  the  members  that   he'd  thought  this  through  and                                                               
determined that he and the staff  were willing to do this as long                                                               
as the costs associated with  establishing the registry were paid                                                               
for  by the  procurement organizations.   Representative  McGuire                                                               
explained  that when  a person  goes into  the Division  of Motor                                                               
Vehicles [to get  a driver's license] there is already  a list of                                                               
questions  that must  be  answered,  so that  is  an action  that                                                               
already  occurs.   What this  [legislation]  would do  is add  an                                                               
additional  question.    The  additional   effort  that  will  be                                                               
required to do this is negligible, she added.                                                                                   
Number 1445                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WILSON  referred  to  page  4,  line  16,  where  it  says                                                               
"approved  under  the  laws  of   the  state".    She  asked  for                                                               
clarification that  the state is  not the  accrediting authority,                                                               
but that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  responded that  the original  version had                                                               
language which gave the authority  for accreditation [through the                                                               
U.S. Department of Health and  Human Services]; this version does                                                               
The committee took an at-ease from 3:29 p.m. to 3:36 p.m.                                                                       
CHAIR WILSON announced that HB 337 will be held over.                                                                           

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