Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

02/08/2005 03:00 PM HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES


Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 82 EXTEND SUICIDE PREVENTION COUNCIL TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
*+ HB 105 MEDICAID FOR ADULT DENTAL SERVICES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 106 SENIOR CARE PROGRAM TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
HB 105 - MEDICAID FOR ADULT DENTAL SERVICES                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
[Contains discussion of HB 106.]                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:26:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  105,  "An  Act relating  to  coverage for  adult                                                               
dental services  under Medicaid;  and providing for  an effective                                                               
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   105,  Version  24-GH1081\G,  Mischel,                                                               
2/7/05,  as the  working  document.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Version G was before the committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:27:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOEL GILBERTSON,  Commissioner, Department  of Health  and Social                                                               
Services (DHSS), explained that HB 105  and HB 106 are a combined                                                               
effort to establish  better senior care.   The administration and                                                               
the twenty-third legislature  established the SeniorCare program.                                                               
He said  that together  SeniorCare and  the state  have addressed                                                               
the issue of  high prescription costs by  forming the multi-state                                                               
prescription  drug  purchasing  plan and  establishing  a  senior                                                               
information  office.   He  reported that  Alaska  has a  vibrant,                                                               
growing senior population  and that senior services  need to grow                                                               
alongside that  population.  He  said that  HB 105 is  a proposal                                                               
from  Governor Murkowski,  to strengthen  oral health  and dental                                                               
services offered to low income seniors.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON  relayed  that  the  administration  has                                                               
worked very  constructively with  the Alaska Mental  Health Trust                                                               
Authority  on   a  collaborative  project  to   focus  on  dental                                                               
services.   The current Medicaid  coverage for adults,  adults is                                                               
defined  as those  over  the age  of 21,  is  restricted only  to                                                               
emergency dental services.   Thus, seniors and  adults covered by                                                               
Medicaid  have  no access  to  oral  health  care outside  of  an                                                               
emergency setting; emergency services  include the requirement to                                                               
remove  immediate pain  and acute  infection.   He said  that the                                                               
administration  and  the  Alaska Mental  Health  Trust  Authority                                                               
perceive this  as a  "tremendous health  care problem  facing our                                                               
state."   Oral health care is  an important piece of  health care                                                               
for individuals  and the  state needs  to invest  in preventative                                                               
measures, he  noted.  He said  that HB 105 allows  state Medicaid                                                               
coverage  for preventative  and restorative  care.   In order  to                                                               
provide  immediate  service, and  to  keep  the proposed  program                                                               
stable  as the  state  addresses the  pent-up  demand needs,  the                                                               
benefits  are capped  at $1,150  per  person annually.   The  cap                                                               
ensures that  each year,  over a  period of  two years,  a senior                                                               
could  purchase  one-half  of  a  complete set  of  teeth.    The                                                               
services available  at the $1,150  threshold would  cover either:                                                               
one exam, 4 bitewing radiographs,  basic cleaning, 8 restorations                                                               
and/or  extractions; or  one  exam  and an  upper  or lower  full                                                               
denture.    The  fiscal  note estimates  41,000  adults  will  be                                                               
eligible for the expanded Medicaid dental benefits.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON relayed  that  the federal  contribution                                                               
through  fiscal  year  (FY)  2011  will  cover  approximately  66                                                               
percent  of the  costs  for those  individuals  eligible for  100                                                               
percent of  federal reimbursement.   The state general  fund (GF)                                                               
will constitute  25 percent  and the  Alaska Mental  Health Trust                                                               
Authority  about  9  percent  of  the  matching  funds.    It  is                                                               
anticipated  that  the  program  will  be  operational  the  last                                                               
quarter  of  FY  06,  so   costs  that  year  are  calculated  at                                                               
approximately 25 percent  of the FY 07 costs  and adjusted higher                                                               
to allow for pent  up demand, he said.  He  noted, that over time                                                               
the Alaska  Mental Health Trust  Authority commitment  to funding                                                               
the GF portion of the "Medicaid match" will diminish.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:37:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON said that when  she visits the dentist, she receives                                                               
more than four x-rays, and  the proposed program only covers four                                                               
bitewings x-rays.  She asked  if the participating dentists would                                                               
be informed about the allowable number of x-rays.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:38:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JON  SHERWOOD,  Medical   Assistant  Administrator,  Division  of                                                               
Finance &  Management Services, Department  of Health  and Social                                                               
Services (DHSS),  relayed that under the  HIPAA [Health Insurance                                                               
Portability and Accountability Act]  rules there is a requirement                                                               
to ascertain  how much of  a benefit foreign  authorizations have                                                               
allowed, and  essentially obtain the prior  authorization and the                                                               
approval to pay for the  service.  He relayed that non-electronic                                                               
methods  are  also  available to  check  on  prior  authorization                                                               
status.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:39:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON   added  that   the  vast   majority  of                                                               
providers  require  prior authorizations  and  that  most of  the                                                               
transactions are electronic.  However,  the providers that do not                                                               
use  electronic   interaction  with  the  state   use  telephonic                                                               
communication.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:40:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON, in  response to  Representative Seaton,                                                               
relayed that  the FY 06  fiscal note reflects the  operating cost                                                               
for one  quarter.  The  pent up demand  will take three  years to                                                               
alleviate,  after   which  there  will  be   a  more  traditional                                                               
inflation factor for  the program.  The GF  portion will increase                                                               
at a  higher rate  because concurrently  with the  program growth                                                               
there will be  diminishing support from the  Mental Health Trust,                                                               
he said.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:41:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHERWOOD,  in  response to  Representative  Seaton,  related                                                               
that:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  assumption in  this fiscal  note  would be  [that]                                                                    
     approximately  66   percent  of   the  cost   would  be                                                                    
     federally  funded.   And that's  a  combination of  the                                                                    
     regular match rate and the  match rate we would receive                                                                    
     from  ...  [the] 100  percent  federal  match rate  for                                                                    
     services  provided  through  tribal  facilities,  which                                                                    
     would be a significant portion.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:42:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON related  that the  calculations for  the                                                               
fiscal note assumed the 50-50 match rate.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:43:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHERWOOD, in  response  to  Representative McGuire,  relayed                                                               
that  the subsection  B  of version  G "refers  to  the ...  base                                                               
treatment, the treatment people are  already eligible for; ... it                                                               
says that  the limits  we impose,  under the  previous paragraph,                                                               
don't apply  to that  emergency treatment of  dental care,  so we                                                               
wouldn't  somehow come  in and  inadvertently limit  and restrict                                                               
the care we are already offering for these individuals."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:44:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  reiterated   that  the  only  difference                                                               
between the  original HB 105 and  Version G is the  definition of                                                               
minimum  treatment.     She   asked  what   the  administration's                                                               
reasoning was for the definition change.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:44:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHERWOOD said he did not know.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:45:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON, in  response to  Representative Seaton,                                                               
related  that  the "access  issue  around  dental services  is  a                                                               
legitimate  one"  and  that while  many  dentists  take  Medicaid                                                               
patients,  many do  not.   The Dental  Association of  Alaska has                                                               
stated its  reasons for refusing Medicaid,  such as reimbursement                                                               
issues, clients not showing for  appointments, and the reluctance                                                               
of clients to  sign the provider agreement  required for Medicaid                                                               
providers.     He   said  that   the  DHSS   is  addressing   the                                                               
association's issues with  the Department of Law  (DOL), in order                                                               
to provide  advisory guidance.   He related  his belief  that the                                                               
department  has gone  out of  its way  to make  Medicaid a  "good                                                               
product,"   He  stated that  the state  needs more  providers and                                                               
more dentists  willing to take  Medicaid, and offered  his belief                                                               
that the  governor's proposal  is the  right thing  to do  and it                                                               
tells seniors, "we care."                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:52:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  said that one of  the reasons many of  the dentists                                                               
complained  about   Medicaid  patients   was  due   to  cancelled                                                               
appointments, and the department should address that issue.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:52:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER GILBERTSON noted  that he would not speak  as to the                                                               
motivations  of dentists  to treat  Medicaid patients,  but there                                                               
are a  variety of reasons.   He noted  that the U.S.  Senator Ted                                                               
Stevens  is very  concerned about  this problem  and he  has been                                                               
"approping money"  to support  the dental  health care  system by                                                               
developing dental health aides.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:53:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  said that  she  would  be interested  in                                                               
analyzing  the provider  agreement because  it could  be impacted                                                               
legislatively.     She  related  her  belief   that  the  federal                                                               
government should  consider tax write-offs for  the providers who                                                               
treat Medicaid  patients, thus creating more  incentive for those                                                               
providers.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:55:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON  related  that  he  would  explore  that                                                               
option, but warned  that tax credit issues  and their interaction                                                               
with  other  aspects  of   reimbursement  policies  are  complex.                                                               
During the  twenty-third legislative session, Senate  Bill 41 was                                                               
signed into law and mandated  that the department must contract a                                                               
third party  to conduct audits  under all Medicaid services.   He                                                               
noted  that  while the  provider  agreement  may  be a  topic  to                                                               
discuss, the  real issue is what  is the agency doing  to support                                                               
providers and what are the providers  doing to make sure they are                                                               
increasing   access  to   health   care.     He  concluded   that                                                               
reimbursement  issues  should  be responsive  to  providers;  the                                                               
supply  and  demand  of  health   care  should  be  assessed  and                                                               
addressed.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:57:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER  said that  Alaskan rural health  care has                                                               
practitioners that  provide cleaning, exams, and  basic fillings.                                                               
She asked  if the rural  health care providers would  be eligible                                                               
to participate in the Medicaid program.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:57:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER GILBERTSON said "yes,"  adding that the rural health                                                               
care  is  a federal  initiative  through  Indian Health  Services                                                               
(IHS) and the  Alaska Native corporations, and  the proposal plan                                                               
is  to use  more extender  services.   The  Alaska Native  Tribal                                                               
Health Consortium (ANTHC), alongside  the Native corporations, is                                                               
in  the process  of utilizing  more mid-level  professionals, who                                                               
are  the crux  of  the health  care system  in  rural Alaska,  he                                                               
noted.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:00:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON, in  response to  Representative Seaton,                                                               
said  that  the  DHSS  is currently  providing  the  service  for                                                               
children,  but there  is no  coverage for  adults.   The proposal                                                               
would  give  adults  the increased  coverage  that  the  children                                                               
already receive, he noted.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:01:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHERWOOD,  in response to Representative  Seaton, related his                                                               
belief that  the DHSS fiscal note  did not "factor in  an unusual                                                               
amount for transportation."                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:02:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON added  that the  fiscal note  should not                                                               
have  to   factor  in  additional  transportation   costs,  since                                                               
Medicaid is  the largest transportation  purchaser in  Alaska and                                                               
any reimbursement of transportation  services is done through the                                                               
Medicaid program, so it is a larger leverage of federal dollars.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:03:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  related the  dentists who  accept Medicaid                                                               
patients would continue  to service the ones they  have, but will                                                               
not take any  new Medicaid patients.   Under these circumstances,                                                               
would  any  patient  under  the   proposed  program  have  to  be                                                               
transported out  of the area?   He asked the DHSS  to report back                                                               
to the committee with a response.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
[HB 105, Version G, was held over.]                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HB 106 - SENIOR CARE PROGRAM                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:05:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 106, "An  Act establishing the senior care program                                                               
and relating to  that program; creating a fund  for the provision                                                               
of  the senior  care  program;  repealing ch.  3,  SLA 2004;  and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE ANDERSON  moved to  adopt the  proposed CS  for HB
106, Version GH1090\G, Mischel,  2/8/05, as the working document.                                                               
There being no objection version G was before the committee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:06:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOEL GILBERTSON,  Commissioner, Department  of Health  and Social                                                               
Services (DHSS), stated that HB  106 would enhance the SeniorCare                                                               
program  established by  the administration.   Seniors  in Alaska                                                               
have high prescription drug costs.   In 2003, congress passed the                                                               
Medicare  Prescription Drug,  Improvement and  Modernization Act,                                                               
which  established the  Medicare  prescription  drug benefit  for                                                               
seniors.    For  clarification purposes  Commissioner  Gilbertson                                                               
explained  that   Medicare  is  a  collection   of  programs  and                                                               
benefits,  and when  discussing the  prescription drug  coverage,                                                               
Part D  is what is referenced.   In 2003, Part  D was established                                                               
by congress.  In 1965, the  origins of the Medicare program, part                                                               
A and  B, were passed.   Part A, goes towards  insurance coverage                                                               
for seniors, mainly for in-patient  care facility services.  Part                                                               
B, is what  most seniors use, and the coverage  is for outpatient                                                               
services.   Part C  - which was  originally called  Medicare Plus                                                               
Choice and  was [essentially a  form of] Medicaid managed  care -                                                               
has  been  renamed  Medicare  Advantage.   Part  D,  is  the  new                                                               
benefit,   which   adds    coverage   for   prescription   drugs.                                                               
Preferential  treatment is  given to  low-income seniors  because                                                               
the  federal government  covers  the premium  and the  deductible                                                               
costs.  He  said that HB 106 will allow  the state to transition,                                                               
extend,  and enhance  the prescription  drug and  cash assistance                                                               
services provided to seniors.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON  related  that  the  seniors  below  135                                                               
percent of  poverty level -  for a single individual  receiving a                                                               
yearly  income under  $16,000 and  for  a couple  $21,000 -  will                                                               
continue receiving  cash assistance of $120  per month, amounting                                                               
to $1,440  per year.   In addition  to the  income qualifications                                                               
there is  a liquid asset level,  he noted.  The  Medicare benefit                                                               
will  be extended  to those  who qualify  and their  premiums and                                                               
deductibles will  be covered,  the value of  which is  about $670                                                               
per  person.     Those   who  qualify   will  receive   the  full                                                               
prescription  drug coverage  under Medicare  Part D.   The  State                                                               
expects to serve  about 7,000 seniors.  However, HB  106 plans to                                                               
expand  coverage for  seniors above  the 135  percent of  poverty                                                               
level and up  to those at 300 percent of  poverty level; which is                                                               
applicable to an individual receiving  a yearly income of $35,000                                                               
and a couple receiving $47,000,  with a higher liquid asset level                                                               
for an  individual of $50,000 and  for a couple of  $100,000.  He                                                               
related that the governor's proposal  ensures that there will not                                                               
be a  senior in  the state  who is unable  to enroll  in Medicare                                                               
Part D simply because they  cannot afford the premium deductible.                                                               
The  governor's  proposal  plans  to  pay  the  premium,  monthly                                                               
premium,  deductible cost  for those  seniors,  and the  proposal                                                               
will serve 10,000 seniors, he noted.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER GILBERTSON related that the  cost of the program for                                                               
FY 06  could initially be low,  because there is still  a balance                                                               
in the  SeniorCare trust fund  and the  program will not  go into                                                               
effect until 2006.  However, after  FY 06 the program will have a                                                               
higher cost, and the administration  will fund the differences in                                                               
revenue on a "rolling" basis.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:17:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER GILBERTSON presented  a chart entitled Strengthening                                                               
and  Improving  Drug Coverage  for  Alaska  Seniors.   The  chart                                                               
compared the  "old" SeniorCare prescription drug  benefits to the                                                               
"new" benefits.   He  pointed out that  under the  old SeniorCare                                                               
benefits,  seniors up  to  135  percent and  150  percent of  the                                                               
poverty level had $1,000 of  drug subsidies; for example, the out                                                               
of pocket  expense for  an individual  with a  high drug  cost of                                                               
$2,500 would  be $1,500.   The  out of  pocket expense  under [HB
106] for the same  high drug cost would be $457,  he noted.  This                                                               
reduced  out of  pocket expense  is  due to  the SeniorCare  drug                                                               
benefit,  which  covers  the premium  and  deductibles,  and  the                                                               
Medicare drug benefit, which covers the Medicare cost of drugs.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:21:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JON  SHERWOOD,  Medical   Assistant  Administrator,  Division  of                                                               
Finance &  Management Services, Department  of Health  and Social                                                               
Services  (DHSS), in  response  to  Representative Gardner,  said                                                               
that  asset  limitations are  not  defined  in  HB 106,  but  are                                                               
established by regulation, which  defines assets as liquid assets                                                               
that could be readily converted to  cash within 20 days and could                                                               
include bank accounts and retirement accounts.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:21:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER asked  if  seniors could  own a  paid-off                                                               
home worth $500,000 and still receive the proposed benefits.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:22:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER GILBERTSON said that would be correct.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:22:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER said:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I find  it a little  troubling, when they can  have ...                                                                    
     300 percent ... of  the federally defined poverty level                                                                    
     and yet  our Denali Kid  Care, for children,  who would                                                                    
     have  no other  assets whatsoever,  have to  have under                                                                    
     175 percent of  poverty level.  So it seems  ... we are                                                                    
     being far more  generous with seniors than  we are with                                                                    
     children.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:22:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER GILBERTSON related  that there is no  "acid test" on                                                               
Denali Kid Care.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:22:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON, in  response to  Representative Seaton,                                                               
clarified  that  Denali  Kid Care  bases  eligibility  on  income                                                               
rather than assets.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:23:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON, in  response to  Representative Seaton,                                                               
pointed to  the side of  the aforementioned chart,  pertaining to                                                               
those  at  135  percent  of  poverty level  and  the  other  side                                                               
pertaining to  those at 300  percent of  poverty level.   The gap                                                               
between the first  and second side are the  individuals that will                                                               
have access  to the prescription  drug benefits, and  those below                                                               
the 135 percent of poverty will have the cash assistance.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:24:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON, in  response to  Representative Seaton,                                                               
related  that the  charts were  used for  broad audiences  so the                                                               
numbers  are  rounded.    The   fiscal  note  details  the  exact                                                               
projections, he relayed.   He said that the state  plans to serve                                                               
about 17,000  seniors, which is  [over] 40 percent of  the 40,000                                                               
seniors in Alaska.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
4:25:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHERWOOD,  in response  to Chair  Wilson, explained  that the                                                               
rationale for  excluding people from public  facilities and other                                                               
institutions is to prevent the  duplication of existing programs.                                                               
For instance,  he said,  the state  already provides  health care                                                               
for inmates of correctional facilities,  and pioneer and veterans                                                               
homes  have a  payment  assistance program,  which covers  health                                                               
costs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:27:06 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON relayed  that  the bill  was drafted  to                                                               
extend but not duplicate a  benefit already offered by the state,                                                               
and the state  covers prescription drug costs  for individuals in                                                               
facilities.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:27:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON, in  response to  Representative Seaton,                                                               
related  that  the  administration  did  not  intend  to  replace                                                               
longevity payments  with SeniorCare  benefits.  The  program will                                                               
provide  service  to a  host  of  individuals  who are  not  even                                                               
eligible for the longevity bonus program, he noted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:28:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHERWOOD, in  response to  Representative Seaton,  said when                                                               
drafting  HB   106  the  administration   did  not   include  the                                                               
beneficiary client hearings for  public assistance programs.  The                                                               
process under AS  7 AAC 49 sets forth  hearing rights, processes,                                                               
and procedures for assistance clients.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:30:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON added  that  during  the initial  effort                                                               
there was a  conscious decision not to  include public assistance                                                               
determinations.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:30:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER  GILBERTSON, in  response to  Representative Wilson,                                                               
noted that the DHSS never operated the longevity bonus program.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:31:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON raised the issue of appeal hearings.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:31:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
COMMISSIONER GILBERTSON  stated that  the administration  is very                                                               
supportive  of streamlining  hearings  in  the "closed"  process.                                                               
The determinations around public  assistance benefits are handled                                                               
in  an  integrated, uniform,  centralized  way  through the  U.S.                                                               
Department of Public Health and Social Services, he noted.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
[HB 106, Version G, was held over.]                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects