Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/27/2005 01:30 PM HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES


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01:33:13 PM Start
01:43:29 PM HB225
02:22:12 PM HB120
02:39:24 PM Confirmation Hearings || University of Alaska Board of Regents
02:42:17 PM Board of Pharmacy
02:46:01 PM Alaska Mental Health Trust
02:47:58 PM Board of Education and Early Childhood Development
02:52:11 PM Board of Pharmacy
02:56:44 PM Board of Dental Examiners
02:59:09 PM Board of Professional Counselors
03:02:13 PM Alaskan Dental Hygienists Association
03:03:25 PM Alaska Board of Psychologists
03:05:29 PM State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board
03:08:00 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 225 MEDICAL EXAMINERS & AUTOPSIES TELECONFERENCED
Moved SCS HB 225(HES) Out of Committee
+= HB 120 HEALTH CARE EMPLOYEE PROTECTION TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 120 Out of Committee
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
Board of Dental Examiners
Board of Pharmacy
State Physical Therapy and Occupational
Therapy Board
Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority
Board of Trustees
Professional Counselors
University of Alaska Board of Regents
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             HB 120-HEALTH CARE EMPLOYEE PROTECTION                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON announced HB 120 to be up for consideration.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY  WILSON, sponsor  of HB 120,  explained that                                                               
this  bill  repeals  two exemptions  from  Alaska's  Blood  Borne                                                               
Pathogen  Protection Standards  to  bring  Alaska standards  into                                                               
compliance  with federal  standards.   Alaska  adopted its  blood                                                               
borne  regulations in  2000 and  in 2001  the federal  government                                                               
adopted theirs.  Overall, Alaska's  regulations are  stronger and                                                               
tighter than the  federal regulations except in  two areas. Those                                                               
are dental  and health care offices  with less than 25  full time                                                               
employees. This bill  is really a housekeeping  bill that ensures                                                               
that state  statutes are equal  to the federal guidelines  and it                                                               
is  mainly for  the  purpose of  qualifying  for certain  federal                                                               
grants.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON asked  if the  medical community  has weighed  in on                                                               
this bill.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  replied that  the Department of  Labor and                                                               
Workforce Development, the Nurses  Association, the Alaska Dental                                                               
Society and the  Alaska Hygienists Society all  support this bill                                                               
and no one is against it.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON asked  if the Alaska Medical Association  has taken a                                                               
position on it.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON replied  that they  have not  commented on                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  DYSON asked  Dr.  Funk, Department  of  Health and  Social                                                               
Services (DHSS),  if she is  aware of anyone who  takes exception                                                               
to this bill.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. BETH  FUNK, Acting Chief,  Epidemiology Section,  Division of                                                               
Public Health,  Department of Health and  Social Services (DHSS),                                                               
replied that she is not aware of anyone.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
GREY  MITCHELL, Director,  Labor Standards  and Safety  Division,                                                               
Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD), said:                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Currently  we  are  having  some  difficulty  with  our                                                                    
     federal counterparts  who provide  us with  grant funds                                                                    
     to carry  out our  program -  and that  is specifically                                                                    
     because   under   the   agreement   that   the   Alaska                                                                    
     Occupational  Safety  and  Health Program  was  created                                                                    
     under  in  1970,  we  agreed  that  we  would  maintain                                                                    
     standards  that  were  at least  effective  as  federal                                                                    
     standards.   And  this  is  an area  where  we are  not                                                                    
     meeting the  minimum federal  standards because  we are                                                                    
     exempting  dental offices  and  small medical  offices.                                                                    
     So, to kind  of straighten that out,  we've taken those                                                                    
     two  exemptions  off of  the  list  and essentially  we                                                                    
     haven't  heard   any  negative  comments.   The  dental                                                                    
     community has  come out in  support of the  bill. Small                                                                    
     medical offices  haven't voiced  any opposition  to it.                                                                    
     Our  in-the-field personnel  in the  industrial hygiene                                                                    
     area  have essentially  been  guiding these  businesses                                                                    
     toward  compliance with  federal requirements  already.                                                                    
     And  the  overwhelming  consensus   is  that  they  are                                                                    
     already in compliance with federal standards.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:22:12 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON  asked if he  is correct  in believing that  all of                                                               
the entities that  fall under the scope of this  bill are already                                                               
required to  be in compliance  with federal regulations  and thus                                                               
this bill is not going to  aggrieve anyone any more than they are                                                               
already aggrieved.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. MITCHELL replied that he is correct.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
JOHN BITNEY, Alaska Nurses Association, supported HB 120.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON asked if a  particular problem caused this issue to                                                               
come to light.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON replied  there was none that  she was aware                                                               
of and that, "This is just  something that needs to be taken care                                                               
of."  The  impact of  this  legislation  is  not expected  to  be                                                               
significant  for   two  reasons.  One  is   that  the  businesses                                                               
currently exempt under the Alaska  law are already complying with                                                               
federal requirements and also the  participation required for the                                                               
front-line  health  care workers  in  the  evaluation process  is                                                               
automatic.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON  asked how this  bill would affect health  aides in                                                               
rural  Alaska  who are  minimally  trained  and under-funded  and                                                               
often  do   not  have   adequate,  much   less  state-of-the-art,                                                               
equipment. He said  one village he visited last  year didn't even                                                               
have sterile suture equipment.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON replied that she  was not sure. She assumed                                                               
they are  required to be trained  and that would fall  back under                                                               
the umbrella  of who is in  charge of them and  who oversees what                                                               
they do.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WILKEN   asked  Representative   Wilson  to   state  her                                                               
professional background for the record.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON replied that she  is a registered nurse and                                                               
a former Emergency Medical Technician  III who practiced in rural                                                               
Southeast Alaska.  She personally  understands the  importance of                                                               
protection for yourself and your patients.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WILKEN moved  to report  HB  120 out  of committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations  and attached fiscal note.  There were                                                               
no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                            

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