Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
04/17/2018 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
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HB 346-DENTIST: TEMPORARY PERMIT 1:33:26 PM CHAIR COSTELLO announced the consideration of HB 346 and noted that the committee previously heard the companion bill. She stated her intention to move the bill after taking public testimony. 1:33:44 PM REPRESENTATIVE SAM KITO III, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, sponsor of HB 346 introduced the legislation paraphrasing the following sponsor statement: House Bill 346 would allow the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners to grant temporary licenses when a dental specialist is suddenly incapacitated or when a small community does not have access to specialized care. Alaska has a limited number of dental specialists, many of whom serve multiple small communities. There are nine dental specialties as defined by the American Dental Association: oral surgery, orthodontics, periodontics (gums), endodontics (root canals), pedodontics (kids), prosthodontics (replacing teeth), public health, , oral pathology (oral diseases), and oral radiology (x-rays); however, Alaska does not have a single specialist in oral radiology. Of the 647 licensed dentists in Alaska, 136 dentists are specialists. Dental specialists in Alaska are limited in number and have full schedules. If a specialist is suddenly incapacitated, there is no reserve to draw from, and multiple small communities could be without specialist care for an extended period of time. Small communities have historically had a hard time recruiting healthcare practioners and the trend seems to be worsening. Temporary dental licenses would allow the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners to maintain dental care in these communities until a full-time dentist can be found. The board is ideally qualified to evaluate the need to circumvent transitional licensing procedures for dentists in exceptional circumstances. HB 346 will allow temporary licenses to be granted in times of need at the discretion of the Alaska Board of Dental Examiners. REPRESENTATIVE KITO III advised that the bill was changed in the other body to give the board the authority to bring a licensed dentist from another jurisdiction to Alaska to fill in for a short period of time. One extension is allowed but the temporary dentist would need to get an Alaska license if they spend more time working in Alaska. 1:36:29 PM SENATOR GARDNER asked if he anticipates that a lot of dentists will be interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. REPRESENTATIVE KITO III deferred the question to the representative from the dental society. He shared his experience when the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Center was having difficulty recruiting a dentist to come to Juneau, and opined that this provision might have allowed SEARHC to bring somebody in temporarily to fill the gap. SENATOR GARDNER asked if he envisions the pool of dentists would be those who are already licensed - but perhaps not practicing - and interested in coming to Alaska for a limited period. REPRESENTATIVE KITO replied the target pool was dentists who are not licensed in Alaska. SENATOR GARDNER directed attention to the provision on page 2, lines 3-5. It says the temporary permit is valid only to treat patients of the incapacitated dentist at the address listed on the business license of the incapacitated dentist. Noting that the companion bill had the same problematic language, she asked what would happen if the incapacitated dentist did business in more than one location. REPRESENTATIVE KITO III said he suspects the bill would accommodate the emergency replacement of a dentist who had offices in more than one location. However, if each office offered different specialty services, the replacement dentist may not have both specialties. He deferred further comment to the board. CHAIR COSTELLO said she assumes each location has a business license, and her reading is that the bill does contemplate multiple locations. SENATOR GARDNER observed that the license is for the facility, not the individual. CHAIR COSTELLO added that the bill is written to accommodate a dentist who has multiple licenses. SENATOR MEYER asked if other states grant temporary dental licenses. REPRESENTATIVE KITO III said he didn't know. CHAIR COSTELLO asked Sarah Chambers to respond to any questions she'd heard. 1:41:34 PM SARAH CHAMBERS, Deputy Director, Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing, Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED), Juneau, Alaska, confirmed that businesses must maintain a business license for each location. Thus, someone with a temporary permit could cover the dental office of the incapacitated dentist. CHAIR COSTELLO asked if the administration had a position on the bill. MS. CHAMBERS replied the administration has not taken a position on the bill but the dental board supports it. SENATOR MEYER asked what it costs for a temporary permit. MS. CHAMBERS explained that a typical temporary permit for a health care profession ranges from $50 to $100. It would not be cost prohibitive. SENATOR MEYER noted that the fiscal note reflects $2,600 in receipt services. MS. CHAMBERS explained that those services would generally be covered by the licensing fees. CHAIR COSTELLO asked if the board could call an emergency meeting to approve an emergency license. MS. CHAMBERS replied the Administrative Procedures Act allows all boards to call a teleconference meeting within five days. 1:44:32 PM CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony on HB 346. 1:44:57 PM DR. PAUL SILVEIRA, Board of Dental Examiners, Valdez, Alaska, stated that the board supports HB 346 to expedite a temporary permit to help an incapacitated dentist. 1:45:23 PM DR. DAVID LOGAN, Executive Director, Alaska Dental Society, Juneau Alaska, stated that the Alaska Dental Society is in strong support of HB 346. He cited examples of the need for temporary permits to fill in for dental specialists who were unexpectedly incapacitated. One had a stroke and another had a major traffic accident. This isn't a common occurrence, he said, but a temporary permit is a necessary tool for the board to maintain continuous dental health care in Alaska. Unlike other states, Alaskans can't easily move to another community for treatment. It is more effective to bring one dentist to a community than flying members of a community to another location for treatment. He reiterated that this would be a valuable tool for the board. 1:47:08 PM SENATOR MEYER asked how this would work. DR. LOGAN said the expectation is that the incapacitated specialist or their designee would put somebody's name forward. He posited that they would pull from former classmates, colleagues, and friends in the field. SENATOR MEYER asked if someone would need to obtain a temporary permit before they could be considered as a replacement. DR LOGAN said the expectation is the name would be submitted to the board for temporary license approval. If the board approved the name, the individual would take over the practice temporarily. SENATOR MEYER asked if it would be a fairly quick process. DR LOGAN said it could be fairly quick. The board is able to meet on an emergency basis and it can also circulate an application amongst the members for approval. This might take just a week, which isn't an unrealistic gap. 1:49:55 PM CHAIR COSTELLO closed public testimony on HB 346. 1:50:07 PM SENATOR MEYER moved to report the CS for HB 346, version D, from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). CHAIR COSTELLO found no objection and CSHB 346(L&C) moved from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.