Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/26/1995 01:17 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 306 - PHYSICIAN'S LIENS MARVINE COGGINS, Legislative Assistant to Representative Toohey, bill sponsor, introduced HB 306. This is an act related to liens for services provided by a physician. She noted there is a proposed CS. It is work draft G. Current Alaska statute allows a hospital or a nurse who gives medical care to a patient for a traumatic injury to place a lien on any sum awarded to the injured person to the extent of the amount due the hospital or nurse. However, physicians in Alaska do not have the same statutory right. HB 306 would amend existing statute to include physicians. MS. COGGINS stated the proposed CS makes changes to update the lien law, which has not been changed since 1959. There are three proposed changes. Peter Aschenbrenner, a lien attorney, is on line in Anchorage. She said he can speak to these changes. Sandra Singer, Public Recorders Office is also on line, because this is where liens are recorded. Number 100 PETER ASCHENBRENNER, Attorney, testified via teleconference in support of the proposed CS for HB 306. He represents recovery management. A few of his clients are Petersburg Medical Center, Seward General Hospital and Cordova Community Hospital. He felt that one additional matter that should be reviewed by the committee is that the hospital nurses (indisc.) an important tool for reducing uninsured losses and keep down rising health care costs in Alaska. (indisc.) should do this by requiring insurance companies to contact hospitals and nurses before settling cases that involve catastrophic injuries which are not work related. Current law has never been revised and has several flaws. The first flaw will be changed by CSHB 306(JUD) which will provide coverage for other providers such as chiropractors. MR. ASCHENBRENNER added that there are three other corrections that will be made by the CS. First, it will extend the time for filing liens to 90 days. This is the same amount of time construction contractors have for lien filing, instead of the current unrealistic 15 days. The CS will repeal the requirement for service of a certified copy of the lien to the Recorder's Office. It also allows the service provider to put in a general description of services rendered at any recorders office. The current language states that the lien has to be filed in the same recording district in which the injury occurred, which is even more of a dilemma if the district in which the injury occurred cannot be determined. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to adopt the CS, Version G, as the committee's working draft. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY wanted to clarify that what Mr. Aschenbrenner was referring to was on page 2, line 17, the words "of the recording district or borough in which the injury occurred," be deleted; and also to delete the entire Section 5, which refers to AS 34.35.470. MR. ASCHENBRENNER answered yes, those were his recommendations. In deleting Section 5, you would actually be repealing "470." There is no (indisc.) outside the recording acts for the recording (indisc.) told how to handle these liens. They already know how to handle them. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY offered the amendment to repeal AS 34.35.470. Hearing no objection, the described amendment was adopted. Number 250 SANDRA SINGER, State Recorders Office, testified via teleconference. She said their priority is that they be removed from the position of working directly with on (indisc.) documents, and be allowed to (indisc.) authority which gives us internal authority to decide how the system should be created and maintained. This change would be doing the Recorder's Office a favor by taking out this terminology. They will be able to operate more efficiently. DOCTOR ROBERT BANKS, Chiropractic Society, testified via teleconference. (indisc.) of Alaska's physicians are not recognized by Alaska's statutes. Often times insurance companies and attorneys can legally choose to ignore third party claims, sometimes leaving thousands of dollars in physician's fees unpaid. There is, in existence, a document to support this activity. He was referring to the Alaska Bar Association ethics opinion number 92-3. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if this was just bringing into compliance a common practice. MS. COGGINS answered that we are basically bringing statue up to what has been current practice. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if the bill was asking that medical liens be recorded by the Recorder's Office in the same fashion that others are being recorded. MS. COGGINS answered yes. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to pass CSHB 306(JUD) out of committee, as amended, with the zero fiscal note. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.