Legislature(2001 - 2002)

02/06/2001 01:30 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         SB  58-ADD PHYSICIAN ASST TO STATE MEDICAL BOARD                                                                   
                                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN RANDY PHILLIPS called the Senate Labor & Commerce                                                                    
Committee meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. and announced SB 58 to be                                                               
up for consideration.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON, sponsor of SB 58, said:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     [SB 58]  adds a physicians assistant  to the Alaska  State                                                                 
     Medical Board.  As a consequence,  the quorum requirements                                                                 
     for meetings have also been  adjusted.  Under current law,                                                                 
     there  are seven members of the  Medical Board.  However,                                                                  
     only  physicians  and  public members  with  no financial                                                                  
     connection  to the health care delivery system  can serve.                                                                 
     Presently,  there are 250 physicians assistants  providing                                                                 
     a wide variety  of medical services to Alaskans.  They are                                                                 
     an  important  part  of  Alaska's  health  care  delivery                                                                  
     system.   On  an average,  there are over  50,000 patient                                                                  
     provider contacts per month.   In rural settings, they are                                                                 
     often the only health care  practitioner and responder for                                                                 
     emergency life threatening situations.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The  examination and  licensing of  physicians assistants                                                                  
     (PAs)  is the responsibility  of the State Medical Board.                                                                  
     In addition  to setting license qualifications,  the Board                                                                 
     determines  the scope and nature of medical services  that                                                                 
     a   physicians  assistant   is  authorized   to  perform.                                                                  
     Consequently, the Board  also defines the responsibilities                                                                 
     that are  required of an assistant  supervising position.                                                                  
     In many ways the effectiveness  of PAs is dependent on the                                                                 
     working  relationship  with  the  supervising  physician.                                                                  
     Consequently,  I believe it is  important for the work  of                                                                 
     the  Board that  a physician  assistant  be  added to  its                                                                 
     membership.   Having such representation  will facilitate                                                                  
     the  deliberations  and  broaden  the  experience  of  the                                                                 
         Board.  In my view, it will increase the Board's                                                                       
      effectiveness in maintaining the quality of health care                                                                   
     services in Alaska.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OLSON  noted a letter supporting SB 58 from  the Chairman of                                                            
the State Medical Board.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOM WILSON,  Alaska Academy of Physicians Assistants,  supported                                                            
SB  58 and  Senator  Olson's  testimony.   He  said  that  physician                                                            
assistants had been licensees  of the Alaska State Medical Board for                                                            
20 years,  but don't  have a member  on the Board.  He said  that PA                                                            
issues come before  the Board on a very regular basis  and that they                                                            
have attended  every meeting of the Board for more  than four years.                                                            
 "I feel  that  a physicians  assistant  on the  Medical Board  will                                                            
greatly  enhance   the  spectrum   of  medical  practitioners   that                                                            
represent the public as  well as the mid-level practitioners here in                                                            
the State of Alaska in which there are many."                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. ED HALL,  Anchorage Academy of  Physician Assistants,  supported                                                            
SB 58, concurring with  the previous testimony.  He said they work a                                                            
long time on this  bill and he thought it was the  right thing to do                                                            
and the timing was right.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.   CATHERINE  REARDON,   Director,   Division   of  Occupational                                                             
Licensing,  said her  division  provides the  staff  support to  the                                                            
State Medical Board and they support this legislation.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TORGERSON asked  how many other boards had an even number of                                                            
board members.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON answered, "One."                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TORGERSON  asked if  this would work  with eight instead  of                                                            
seven members.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  replied that  she thought it  would and explained  that                                                            
for practical  purposes they  have even numbers  whenever there's  a                                                            
vacancy on a board which is not uncommon.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DAVIS  asked if the  funding for this  bill would come  from                                                            
receipts.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  said that  was right,  that it has  been identified  as                                                            
receipt supported services.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LEMAN moved to  pass SB  58 from committee  with the  $3000                                                            
fiscal  note  with  individual  recommendations.     There  were  no                                                            
objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                               

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