Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/26/1995 01:17 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                   
 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             
 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.                                                               

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