Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/18/1997 01:34 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 90 DENTISTS: LICENSING & EXTEND EXAMINING BD MS. CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, said the bill before the Committee is the extension of the termination date of the Board of Dental Examiners to the year 2003 (matching the audit), although the Committee has expressed interest in having four year extension dates instead. Section two also reflects an audit suggestion to increase the number of public members to two from one. Presently it is a nine member board, one public member, two dental hygienists, and six dentists. This bill would reduce it to five dentists, two public members, and two dental hygienists. Section five has transition language. Section three removes the requirement that a photograph be submitted with the application. Section four puts flexibility into statute in terms of licensure by credentials although they were told a few years ago they didn't have statutory authority to give them flexibility. Current statute says that requirements in our State have to match the requirements in the state the person is coming from. What usually arises with dentistry is that not all states offer the same dental exam. She said we use the Western Region Exam. The subject matter that tends to come up is endodontics which has to do with gums and root canals. So California, for instance, doesn't test on endodontics and we do. The problem has been that people coming in from those states can't say that their state had licensing requirements that were generally equivalent to this state. She thought Legislative Audit's language means to say if you are dismissing part of the test, if the Board doesn't believe the licensing requirements are equivalent in the other jurisdiction because certain subject matter is not included in the other tests, there are other ways of making it up. One could do some continuing education, in endodontics, for instance. Her opinion is that however it is resolved, either by statute or regulation, it would be to the benefit of Alaska if there were a way to test people coming into Alaska without them having to face entirely retaking their Boards which is very challenging 10 years out of dentist school. Number 220 SENATOR MACKIE moved on page 1, line 5 to delete "2003" and insert "2001." There were no objections and it was so adopted. SENATOR MACKIE asked for the rationale for going to five members versus six and two versus one for the public members. MS. REARDON explained that it was the desire to have two public members instead of one which meant reducing the number of dentists to keep the nine member board. DR. ARNESON said the only problem he has with the five versus six dentist members is that the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB) requires dentists' and hygienists' input when they do tests - up to 16 or more per year and they pay the bill. They have to go down as providers to the tests two or three times per year. To make sure Alaska is represented it would be nice to have a dentist go to each test. Having one less dentist would make it difficult to have input. It is a big time commitment, but it is an important part of their involvement as examiners. MS. REARDON elaborated that Alaska is part of the Western Region Examining Board consortium; there are other consortiums. We don't offer the dental exam in Alaska because we have no dental schools and the Board expects its different member states to help with the development and administration of the exam. MR. RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor, explained that the reason they suggested adding a public member is because it is a large board and they have always promoted the concept of having a public disinterested member on the board. On this particular board he saw high absenteeism by the public member and felt it could support two public members. He said there has been a lot of controversy with the Dental Board and he thought that public representation is critical. He didn't see a problem with the swap and it's his policy approach when public members are added not to not increase the overall size of the board. In the past they felt the public's representation hadn't been there. SENATOR MACKIE asked when that would take effect. MR. WELKER said there is a transitional provision replacing the next vacancy on the Board in a dental position. So it doesn't require the removal of a member. SENATOR MACKIE asked if it would affect any current nominees. MR. WELKER replied no because the effective date is July 1, 1997. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said he was concerned if the Administration has not filled the existing public member position. The absenteeism argument rings hollow for him until that public member is replaced. MS. REARDON responded that the Governor's Office is attempting to fill vacancies as quickly as able. Number 380 DR. ARNESON responded that the lady they had was a really thoughtful and useful board member when she was there, but it was easy for her to not be present and she resigned in December before her term was up. His concern was that the public members were not as interested in dental issues as the professionals. This is why he would like to maintain the six dentist members. He thought they could find dentists with diverse views. MS. REARDON commented that many boards do have two public members. She hasn't had a problem with filling the WREB trip Outside at this point. MR. ARNESON replied that's because of people like him who make three trips a year on top of their Board meetings. MS. REARDON acknowledged that was true. SENATOR MACKIE said he would like to know from the Administration why they haven't appointed someone to the one public member seat that's there now and he'd like to hear whether is significant interest from the public, because he didn't want to end up with two vacant seats. CHAIRMAN LEMAN directed Ms. Reardon to get an answer from the Governor's Office regarding when the public seat would be filled. He set aside SB 90 until her return. Number 410 CHAIRMAN LEMAN said next they would take up the Board of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. DR. LARRY SEETHALER, a reappointment, said he was a 20-year resident of Alaska and has practiced physical therapy the whole time he has been here. He said he would be willing to serve a second term and is the current chairman. He thought his services would be useful in the protection of the public with issues of competency, licensing, and evaluating physical therapists for licensure. There were no questions from the Committee. MR. SEETHALER said that Ms. Berline has served at only one meeting so far and seems competent and has good input. SENATOR KELLY said that she was his neighbor for 10 years and he would recommend her. DR. SEETHALER said that Dr. Keller has served the same time he has and has been a real asset to the Board and indicated he would be willing to serve a second term. CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanked everyone for their comments and said their confirmations would be taken up in a joint session of the legislature within the next two months. CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced SB 90 to be back before the Committee. H informed them that Ann McCoy resigned on December 2, 1996. MS. REARDON confirmed that and said she was an appointee from the previous administration and reported that Ms. Cindy Smith, Boards and Commissions, said she had two people under consideration for public seats. MS. REARDON explained that people don't necessarily apply to be public members on a specific board, they generally apply to be public members. SENATOR KELLY said that over the years he has come to distrust the public board membership stuff, anyway. The idea that someone is supposed to represent the public who knows nothing about the particular occupation or industry doesn't make a lot of sense to him, he said. SENATOR MILLER agreed with Senator Kelly. SENATOR MILLER moved to delete sections 2 and 5 and anything that deals with the additional board member. There were no objections and it was so adopted. MS. ANNETTE KREITZER, Staff to Senator Leman, said the next amendment parallels some of the language that is found in medical statutes under 08.64.326 (8)a and speaks to the Board not basing a finding of failing to conform to professional standards of dentistry solely on the grounds that the dentist practices unconventional or experimental dentistry and adds sections 6 and 7. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said he understood this to be consistent with Title 8 regarding doctors and he asked if the Board now brings disciplinary action against dentists who espouse unconventional practices with the replacement of mercury fillings. MS. REARDON said she researched this last year and at that time the Board had never charged anyone with incompetence based on replacing mercury fillings. SENATOR KELLY assured them that this was a controversial issue in past sessions. CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced that the Committee would hold the bill over with the pending amendment until the next meeting and adjourned the meeting at 2:45 p.m.