Legislature(2003 - 2004)

05/09/2003 01:25 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 260 - IMMUNITY FOR PROVIDING FREE HEALTH CARE                                                                              
Number 1754                                                                                                                     
CHAIR McGUIRE announced that the  next order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 260, "An Act  relating to immunity for free health                                                               
care  services provided  by certain  health  care providers;  and                                                               
providing  for an  effective date."   [Before  the committee  was                                                               
CSHB  260(L&C);  in members'  packets  was  a proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB  260,  Version  Q,  23-LS0823\Q,  Ford,                                                               
5/8/03, and a proposed amendment to Version Q.]                                                                                 
Number 1728                                                                                                                     
JASON  HARMON,  N.D.,  Vice   President,  Alaska  Association  of                                                               
Naturopathic Physicians  (AKANP), offered the AKANP's  support of                                                               
HB 260,  saying that it  is an important  bill for Alaska  in the                                                               
sense that  it is  potentially going  to open  up health  care in                                                               
rural communities  by reducing some of  the liabilities currently                                                               
faced  by  health care  providers  who  wish to  volunteer  their                                                               
Number 1673                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  PAUL SEATON,  Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
noted  that naturopathic  physicians and  registered nurses  have                                                               
been  included in  the definition  of "health  care provider"  as                                                               
used in proposed AS 09.65.290.                                                                                                  
DOCTOR HARMON  posited that the  concerns of the  legislature and                                                               
health care  providers align  in the sense  that both  groups are                                                               
concerned about access to excellent  health care and the aging of                                                               
the "medical  population."  He  mentioned that other  states have                                                               
made changes similar to what is being proposed via HB 260.                                                                      
CHAIR McGUIRE  noted the  importance of  looking beyond  just the                                                               
urban centers when considering issues of health care.                                                                           
Number 1586                                                                                                                     
MIKE HAUGAN, Executive Director,  Alaska Physicians and Surgeons,                                                               
Inc., said simply that  his organization represents approximately                                                               
170  physicians in  Anchorage and  strongly supports  HB 260  and                                                               
[Amendment 1].                                                                                                                  
Number 1558                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG made  a  motion to  adopt Amendment  1,                                                               
which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
     Delete page 3, line 4, and renumber accordingly.                                                                           
CHAIR  McGUIRE  asked  whether   there  were  any  objections  to                                                               
adopting  Amendment  1.    There  being  none,  Amendment  1  was                                                               
Number 1535                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SAMUELS  moved to  adopt the  proposed (CS)  to HB
260, Version 23-LS0823\Q, Ford, 5/8/03, as the work draft.                                                                      
The committee took an at-ease from 4:29 p.m. to 4:31 p.m.                                                                       
Number 1534                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  McGUIRE asked  whether there  were any  objections to  the                                                               
motion.  There being none, Version Q was before the committee.                                                                  
Number 1529                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  restated his motion to  adopt Amendment                                                               
1.  There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                          
Number 1515                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE OGG  made a motion  to adopt  Conceptual Amendment                                                               
2, to add  "direct-entry midwives" after "nurse  midwife" on page                                                               
3, line 5.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR McGUIRE  clarified that  because Version  Q was  now before                                                               
the  committee, Conceptual  Amendment  2 would  instead apply  to                                                               
page 3, line 12.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVES   GRUENBERG,  HOLM,   and  SEATON   pointed  out,                                                               
however,  that   "certified  direct-entry  midwife"   is  already                                                               
included in Version Q, on lines 14-15 of page 3.                                                                                
Number 1456                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  McGUIRE   indicated  that   Conceptual  Amendment   2  was                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  indicated that he might  be offering another                                                               
amendment depending  on whether  the issue  raised in  the letter                                                               
from the Alaska Nurses Association has been addressed yet.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON  relayed   that  Legislative   Legal  and                                                               
Research Services  has researched  that issue and  concluded that                                                               
volunteer work  done in emergency  shelters and  temporary trauma                                                               
units is  already covered, under  both a separate statute  and HB
Number 1361                                                                                                                     
PATRICIA  SENNER,  R.N.,  President,  Alaska  Nurses  Association                                                               
(AaNA), relayed  that the AaNA  along with the Alaska  chapter of                                                               
the American Red  Cross, the [Division of  Public Health, Nursing                                                               
Section], and  the Municipality of Anchorage's  health department                                                               
have recently  established the  Alaska Nurse  Alert System.   She                                                               
said that  the AaNA  is concerned about  the "description  of the                                                               
location  of   health  services,"  specifically   that  temporary                                                               
emergency  services are  not clearly  [included]  in proposed  AS                                                               
09.65.290(a)(3).   Because attorneys might, in  the future, argue                                                               
that  somehow the  services provided  to their  clients were  not                                                               
meant to  be covered by this  bill, she remarked, the  AaNP would                                                               
prefer  that the  inclusion of  temporary  emergency services  be                                                               
clearly spelled out.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said that  according to  Legislative Legal                                                               
and Research  Services, because those services  would be provided                                                               
at facilities owned by a  municipality, the stare, or the federal                                                               
government, they would be covered under  HB 260.  In addition, AS                                                               
09.65.091  addresses   civil  liability   for  responding   to  a                                                               
disaster.   He  offered, however,  that  he has  no objection  to                                                               
adding language that would further clarify this issue.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA noted  that  nonprofit  facilities are  also                                                               
addressed in the  bill.  He opined that such  should cover a "Red                                                               
Cross unit."   He asked  Ms. Senner  whether she is  comforted by                                                               
the foregoing information.                                                                                                      
MS. SENNER said yes, adding that  it was the term "owned by" that                                                               
had her  concerned that  perhaps providing  services from  a tent                                                               
set up in the middle of a field would not be covered.                                                                           
CHAIR  McGUIRE  and REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  indicated  that it  was                                                               
their belief and intention that such would be covered.                                                                          
Number 1199                                                                                                                     
CHIP WAGONER, Lobbyist  for Covenant House Alaska,  said that his                                                               
client strongly  supports HB  260.  He  said that  Covenant House                                                               
Alaska had experiences wherein health  care providers that wanted                                                               
to volunteer services  to the organization had been  unable to do                                                               
so  because of  malpractice  liability.   He  noted that  members                                                               
should  have received  a letter  of support  from Covenant  House                                                               
CHAIR  McGUIRE  assured  him  that copies  of  that  letter  were                                                               
included in members' packets.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  Mr. Wagoner  whether there  were                                                               
any other  category of people whom  his client would like  to see                                                               
included in HB 260                                                                                                              
MR. WAGONER suggested that  perhaps emergency medical technicians                                                               
(EMTs) ought to  be included, but surmised that  perhaps they are                                                               
already covered under other statutes.                                                                                           
CHAIR McGUIRE closed  public testimony on HB 260.   She then said                                                               
that Amendment 1 was offered  and adopted because the language it                                                               
deleted had  "absolutely nothing to  do with the bill,"  and that                                                               
to have  kept that  language in as  a political  statement simply                                                               
would have been wrong.                                                                                                          
Number 1099                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLM moved  to report  the proposed  (CS) for  HB
260,  Version  23-LS0823\Q,  Ford,  5/8/03, as  amended,  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal  note.  There  being no objection, CSHB  260(JUD) was                                                               
reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                           

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