Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/10/2001 01:32 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
          HB  81-DENTISTS/DENTAL HYGIENISTS & ASSISTANTS                                                                    
                                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS announced HB 81 to be up for consideration.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. BRENDA BALASH,  staff to Representative Fate,  said the Board of                                                            
Dental  Examiners  is  due  to  terminate   on  June  30,  2001  and                                                            
Legislative  Budget and  Audit recommended  that  it be extended  to                                                            
June 30, 2005. She explained:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     The  regulation and  licensing of qualified  dentists  and                                                                 
     hygienists  benefits the  public safety  and welfare.  The                                                                 
     Board contributes  to safeguarding the public  interest by                                                                 
     insuring competence  and integrity of dentists  and dental                                                                 
     hygienists.  Initially,  this is why  we brought the  bill                                                                 
     forward.  There  were also  some  concerns by  the Dental                                                                  
     Board  of Examiners and the Alaska  Dental Society and  HB
     81  attempts to  clear  up these  issues. It  attempts  to                                                                 
     clear  up some duplicate  and confusing  language, reduce                                                                  
     paper  work, expand the definition  of dentistry, address                                                                  
     dental  testing equivalency  options,  board appointments                                                                  
     and  increase the allowable  civil fine  penalty that  the                                                                 
     board can impose.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 2300                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN  asked what  was the significance  of the deletion  of                                                            
the words  "or prophylactic"  after  "preventative".  He thought  it                                                            
would be restrictive.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. BALASH answered that it's duplicate language.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. PAT DAVIDSON, Legislative  Auditor, said they conducted a sunset                                                            
review   of  the   Board  of   Dental  Examiners   and  recommended                                                             
continuation of the Board until 2005.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN PHILLIPS  asked what she  thought of the rest of  the bill.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DAVIDSON  answered that  it  hadn't  been proposed  during  the                                                            
audit, so they didn't have a studied opinion.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR AUSTERMAN  asked where language came from  on page 2 talking                                                            
about authorizing inspectors of radiology equipment.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. BALASH  answered the Alaska Dental  Society proposed  it and the                                                            
Board supported it.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN  asked the significance  of the last sentence  on page                                                            
6, which  says, "requires  a person  licensed under  AS 08.64  to be                                                            
licensed under this chapter."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CATHERINE  REARDON, Director,  Occupational Licensing,  said her                                                            
division  staffs the Board  of Dental Examiners.  She said  AS 08.64                                                            
contains medical  licensing statutes, which apply  to physicians and                                                            
other   people  like   physician   assistance   or  intensive   care                                                            
paramedics. Podiatrists  are also licensed under this statute. "This                                                            
dental statute  doesn't mean you have  to have a dental license.  It                                                            
doesn't say the  scopes of practice for an intensive  care paramedic                                                            
have now been expanded to include them."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LEMAN commented  that  in the  professions  he is  familiar                                                            
with, there  are overlapping  areas  and he thought  there would  be                                                            
overlapping areas for physicians and dentists.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON explained that  the definition came from American Dental                                                            
Association (ADA) model  definition of dentistry and was added on to                                                            
the current definition  rather than rewriting the entire definition.                                                            
                                                                                                                              
TAPE 01-16, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
SENATOR  LEMAN asked what  is the  current limit  on the civil  fine                                                            
authority mentioned on page 5.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON answered $5,000.  The $25,000 maximum would match a bill                                                            
that increased the amount  the medical board can fine. This would do                                                            
the same thing for the dental board.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TORGERSON  asked if inspection  of radiology was  recognized                                                            
in the fiscal note as costing more money.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  responded that  they didn't  indicate that anything  in                                                            
the  bill would  cost  more  money.  It's a  positive  fiscal  note,                                                            
because  that  is  the way  they  are  supposed  to  prepare  sunset                                                            
extensions. There is no  additional expenditures in that fiscal note                                                            
over this  year. This was  a request of the  Dental Society  and not                                                            
the Dental Board, although they like it.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR TORGERSON asked  what happens to the money that is collected                                                            
by the inspector.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON explained:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In statute right now the  department is permitted to set a                                                                 
     fee and charge a fee for  issuing the inspection seals. We                                                                 
     don't do so.  We haven't set a fee charging for  that, but                                                                 
     if  we were  to  set a  fee  charging  for that,  then  my                                                                 
     understanding  of  this  language is  that  the inspector                                                                  
     could  collect that and  pass it along  to the board.  The                                                                 
     way  the  current  law  works  for  the  x-ray  equipment                                                                  
     registration  inspection  is  that  every five  years  the                                                                 
     owner  of the dental x-ray equipment,  which is usually  a                                                                 
     dentist,  but could be  some one other  than the dentist,                                                                  
     has  to have it  inspected to  make sure  it's safe by  an                                                                 
     inspector. The owner sends  in a piece of paper that shows                                                                 
     it got inspected and if  there was a fee, they'd mail us a                                                                 
     fee  and we'd mail  them the  sticker. They'd  slap it  on                                                                 
     their  machine. This  would allow  the inspector  who's  a                                                                 
     private  citizen approved  by the board  to go around  and                                                                 
     inspect.  When he inspects  and says  it meets standards,                                                                  
     he'll  slap a sticker  on it  and if there  were any  fee,                                                                 
     he'd collect it and send  it to us. I think the department                                                                 
     is unlikely  to establish a fee  under that circumstance.                                                                  
     It's awkward to have the  money go through some one else's                                                                 
     hands.  What  if  some  one  says,   "I've  paid  and  the                                                                 
     inspector says, "No, they didn't."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. GEORGE  SHAFFER, Ketchikan  Dentist, clarified  that there  is a                                                            
fee established  for the dentist to have his radiological  equipment                                                            
inspected.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     In the past,  the state used to do the inspecting  through                                                                 
     the Division of Radiology  and charge us a fee. The change                                                                 
     now is that  we have a private inspector that's  certified                                                                 
     by the state that does the  testing, but at the moment the                                                                 
     seal   has  to  be  issued  by   the  board  through   the                                                                 
     department.  The  change in  this  language simply  is  to                                                                 
     simplify  the  process so  that the  person  who does  the                                                                 
     inspecting  can issue the certification without  us having                                                                 
     to wait  until paper  work goes to Juneau  and then  comes                                                                 
     back to  us. It can be done on-site.  The fact is that  we                                                                 
     do pay a fee straight to  the inspector rather than to the                                                                 
     state, the way it used to be.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHAFFER  also said there  was a change  in the civil  penalties.                                                            
The Dental Society and  the Board has been concerned for a number of                                                            
years that the  fees that are charged for the investigations  aren't                                                            
actually covering the cost  to the state of doing the investigations                                                            
when a  license is disciplined.  This bill  raises fee commensurate                                                             
with the cost to the state. He said he endorses the bill.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN said when  the upper limit was changed for physicians,                                                            
the committee  sent  along a  letter of  intent  saying that  should                                                            
apply only to the most egregious offenses.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  said she remembered  the letter  of intent, but  didn't                                                            
have it with her. The concern  was that they didn't want the Medical                                                            
Board  to take  the  message  that you  should  take each  fine  you                                                            
normally  give and  double it,  but instead,  you  should leave  the                                                            
continuing education violations low.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LEMAN  asked the  sponsor if it was  acceptable to  increase                                                            
the upper limit  to get to some of  the bad offenses, but  not minor                                                            
ones.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR AUSTERMAN  asked where the  money from the civil  fine went.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON responded  that the division considers  it part of their                                                            
program  receipts and,  therefore, credit  the money  to the  dental                                                            
program, just  like they credit the  costs of the investigation  and                                                            
prosecution  to the dental program.  She assumed it was part  of the                                                            
general fund since  it was state money. She explained  that there is                                                            
a self-sufficiency  mandate  for each program  in statute that  they                                                            
cover their own costs.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR AUSTERMAN  asked if currently  the fines are not  paying for                                                            
the investigations.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON  answered that's true.  She said one of the reasons  for                                                            
increasing  the  fine is  to have  the  wrong-doer help  offset  the                                                            
investigation more fully.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  AUSTERMAN asked  for backup showing  costs associated  with                                                            
investigations.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. REARDON responded that  she would get that information and added                                                            
that  the   other  reason  the  Dental   Board  strongly   supported                                                            
increasing  the maximum is  they felt like  larger figures  would be                                                            
better deterrents.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE said that the Dental Society  brought the issue                                                            
forward  and he didn't  object to  using language  in the letter  of                                                            
intent from the Medical Board regarding raising the fine amount.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. BETSY WOOLLEY, Fairbanks  Dental Assistant, supported HB 81, but                                                            
has concerns with  Section 5. She said the Minnesota  State Board of                                                            
Dentistry  last  year elected  a  certified  dental assistant  as  a                                                            
president  of the  Board  of Dentistry  and  she is  concerned  that                                                            
dental hygienists  and assistants  are being eliminated to  possibly                                                            
be president of the board.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  FATE responded that was the previous  version, which                                                            
was amended out in the House.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SHAFFER inserted  that  he favored  a letter  of  intent to  be                                                            
attached with the change in civil penalties.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  PHILLIPS  thanked  everyone for  their  participation  and                                                            
adjourned the meeting at 3:37 p.m.                                                                                              

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