Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/13/2001 10:02 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
     SENATE BILL NO. 58                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to the membership and quorum requirements of                                                              
     the State Medical Board."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson,  sponsor of  the bill, stated  that this legislation                                                             
adds  a physician  assistant  (PA) to the  membership  to the  State                                                            
Medical Board.  He noted that currently, there are  seven members on                                                            
the Board,  but  that only  physicians  and public  members with  no                                                            
financial connection to  the health care industry may serve in these                                                            
positions.  He relayed that  there are 250  physician assistants  in                                                            
the state providing  a wide variety  of medical services  in Alaska.                                                            
He  stressed that  the  PAs are  an important  part  of the  Alaskan                                                            
health  care delivery  system  and on  average, account  for  50,000                                                            
patient-provider   contacts  per  month.  He  added  that  in  rural                                                            
settings,  they   are  often  the  only  health  care  practitioner                                                             
available   to   respond   to  emergencies    and  life-threatening                                                             
situations.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson  informed the Committee  that the State Medical  Board                                                            
is responsible  for administering the certification  examination for                                                            
physician   assistants.    In   addition   to   setting    licensing                                                            
qualification,  he noted the Board  determines the scope  and nature                                                            
of the  medical  services that  a PA  is authorized  to perform.  He                                                            
continued that  the Board also sets the supervision  requirements of                                                            
the supervising  physician.  He stressed that  the effectiveness  of                                                            
the  PA  is  dependent  upon  the  working  relationship   with  the                                                            
supervising physician.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Senator  Olson  summarized   that  because  of  the  aforementioned                                                             
statements a PA position  should be added to the Board's membership.                                                            
He  surmised   that   this  change   would  increase   the   Board's                                                            
effectiveness  in maintaining the  quality of health care  delivery.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Kelly  noted that  the new  membership  would  be an  even                                                            
number  of members.  He referred to  testimony given  in the  Senate                                                            
Labor and Commerce  Committee and  asked Senator Olson to  relay the                                                            
outcome of the discussion.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Senator Olson responded  that the additional seat would increase the                                                            
number of members on the  Board to eight. As a result, he stated the                                                            
quorum would increase  from four to five members.  He predicted that                                                            
this would  cause no significant  disruption  to the process,  given                                                            
that the  meetings are  often one  member short  due to conflicting                                                             
obligations.  He noted  that tie votes  would be  rare since  actual                                                            
meeting attendance  would often be  less than the full eight-person                                                             
membership.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Donley  offered a motion  to report from Committee,  SB 58,                                                            
22-LS0452\C   with  accompanying   $3,000   fiscal  note  from   the                                                            
Department  of  Community  and Economic  Development,  Occupational                                                             
Licensing BRU. The bill MOVED from Committee with no objection.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
AT EASE 10:30 AM / 10:32 AM                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                

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