Legislature(1995 - 1996)

01/16/1996 01:07 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
              HOUSE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS                             
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                        January 16, 1996                                       
                           1:07 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Ivan Ivan, Co-Chair                                            
 Representative Alan Austerman, Co-Chair                                       
 Representative Kim Elton                                                      
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Pete Kott                                                      
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Jerry Mackie                                                   
 Representative Irene Nicholia                                                 
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 392                                                          
 "An Act relating to the affirmative vote necessary to amend the               
 articles of incorporation of Native village corporations to                   
 authorize the classification of directors."                                   
                                                                               
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
                                                                               
 * HOUSE BILL NO. 383                                                          
 "An Act relating to reimbursement by the state to municipalities              
 and certain established villages for services provided to                     
 individuals incapacitated by alcohol; and providing for an                    
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
                                                                               
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 392                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: NATIVE CORP DIRECTOR CLASSIFICATION                              
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-DATE             ACTION                                      
 01/05/96      2369    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2369    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2369    (H)   CRA, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                           
 01/16/96              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 383                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: REIMBURSE FOR LOCAL SERVICE TO INEBRIATES                        
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-DATE             ACTION                                      
 12/29/95      2366    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2366    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2366    (H)   CRA, STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                       
 01/16/96              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant                                             
    to Representative Ivan Ivan                                                
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol Building, Room 503                                              
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented sponsor statements for HB 392 and HB
                      383.                                                     
                                                                               
 GLEN PRICE, Representative                                                    
 Napaskiak Incorporated and Swan Lake Corporation                              
 Foster Pepper & Shefelman                                                     
 601 West Fifth, Suite 500                                                     
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 276-4411                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 392.                          
                                                                               
 CRISTY TILDEN, Program Director                                               
 Drug and Alcohol Services                                                     
 Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation; and                                      
    Board Member, Advisory Board on                                            
    Alcohol and Drug Abuse                                                     
 P.O. Box 130                                                                  
 Dillingham, Alaska  99576                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 842-5266                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383, with additional suggestions.           
                                                                               
 JAN McCARTNEY, Patient Accounts Manager                                       
 Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation                                           
 P.O. Box 130                                                                  
 Dillingham, Alaska  99576                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 842-5201                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 GEORGE YOUNG, Fire Chief                                                      
 City of Bethel                                                                
 P.O. Box 388                                                                  
 Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 543-2131                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
 CHRIS LIU, Police Chief                                                       
 City of Bethel                                                                
 P.O. Box 500                                                                  
 Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 543-3781                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 DAVE TRANTHAM                                                                 
 P.O. Box 759                                                                  
 Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 543-2772                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 ANASTASIA COOK                                                                
 Association of Village Council Presidents                                     
    Receiving Home                                                             
 P.O. Box 219                                                                  
 Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 543-2019                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 BOB CHARLES, Vice President of Operations                                     
 Association of Village Council Presidents                                     
 P.O. Box 219                                                                  
 Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 543-3521                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383, with suggested amendment.              
                                                                               
 EDMON MYERS, Administrator                                                    
 Kodiak Island Hospital/Care Center                                            
 1915 East Rezanof                                                             
 Kodiak, Alaska  99615                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 486-3218                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 DENNIS OAKLAND, Chief of Police                                               
 Police Department                                                             
 City of Homer                                                                 
 4060 Heath Street                                                             
 Homer, Alaska  99603                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 235-3150                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 WILLIAM WALTERS, Judicial Services Officer                                    
 Police Department                                                             
 City of Homer                                                                 
 4060 Heath Street                                                             
 Homer, Alaska  99603                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 235-3150                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383, with proposed amendments.              
                                                                               
 GARY GRANDY, Administrator                                                    
 Petersburg Medical Center; and                                                
 Council Member, Petersburg City Council                                       
 P.O. Box 589                                                                  
 Petersburg, Alaska  99833                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 772-3059                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383, with suggestions about                 
                      funding.                                                 
                                                                               
 GREG PORTER, Administrator                                                    
 Cordova Medical Center                                                        
 P.O. Box 160                                                                  
 Cordova, Alaska  99574                                                        
 Telephone:  (907) 424-8000                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 MIKE HOLSMAN, Planning Officer                                                
 Department of Health and Human Services                                       
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 825 L Street                                                                  
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 343-4619                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383, with additional suggestions.           
                                                                               
 CHRIS HLADICK, Manager                                                        
 City of Dillingham                                                            
 P.O. Box 869                                                                  
 Dillingham, Alaska  99576                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 842-5211                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383, with additional suggestions.           
                                                                               
 MARY PAVIL, Representative                                                    
 Orutsaramuit Native Council; and                                              
    Council Member, City of Bethel                                             
 P.O. Box 37                                                                   
 Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 543-2608                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 KIMBERLY METCALFE-HELMAR, Special Assistant                                   
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Community and Regional Affairs                                  
 P.O. Box 112100                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-2100                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4898                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 383.                                     
                                                                               
 LOREN JONES, Director                                                         
 Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse                                         
 Department of Health and Social Services                                      
 P.O. Box 110607                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0607                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2071                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 383.                                     
                                                                               
 HARLAN KNUDSON, President/CEO                                                 
 Alaska State Hospital & Nursing Home Association                              
 319 Seward, #11                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 586-1790                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 383.                                        
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-1, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN IVAN called the House Community and Regional Affairs            
 Committee meeting to order at 1:07 p.m.  Members present at the               
 call to order were Representatives Ivan, Austerman, Elton and Kott.           
 Members absent were Representatives Vezey, Mackie and Nicholia.               
 Co-Chair Ivan noted that Representative Nicholia was en route to              
 Juneau.  He then introduced committee staff and reviewed the                  
 committee guidelines.                                                         
 HB 392 - NATIVE CORP DIRECTOR CLASSIFICATION                                
                                                                               
 Number 429                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN noted the bill packets contained a copy of HB 392;              
 the sponsor statement; two zero fiscal notes, one from the                    
 Department of Community and Regional Affairs and one from the                 
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development; a letter from Glen           
 Price of Foster Pepper & Shefelman explaining the intent of the               
 bill; and resolutions in support from Napaskiak Incorporated and              
 Swan Lake Corporation.  As sponsor of the legislation, he asked Tom           
 Wright to present the bill on his behalf.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 477                                                                    
                                                                               
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Ivan, presented           
 the sponsor statement for HB 392, explaining it amends the Alaska             
 corporations code to authorize Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act            
 (ANCSA) village corporations to provide for Board of Director                 
 classification in their bylaws.  If enacted, HB 392 would allow               
 ANCSA village corporations to amend their articles of incorporation           
 to authorize a classified or staggered term board of directors by             
 a majority vote of the shares represented at a meeting of                     
 shareholders.  Under current law, for those villages which did not            
 have classified boards in place by July 1, 1989, such an amendment            
 requires a two-thirds vote of all outstanding shares entitled to              
 vote, which is often difficult for village corporations to achieve.           
                                                                               
 Number 564                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT asked if there were only two village                 
 corporations to which HB 392 applied.                                         
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT responded that they were aware of only two, Napaskiak              
 and Swan Lake; however, there could be others.                                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked if they knew the reason why, prior to               
 1989, those corporations did not have a classified board in place.            
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT suggested that Glen Price, representative for Napaskiak            
 and Swan Lake, could better answer the question.                              
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN added that the legislation was intended to assist               
 village corporations that incur costs in executing annual                     
 shareholder meetings.  Shareholders attended by proxy and in                  
 person, but the statutes required a two-thirds majority of all                
 shareholders to amend the articles and bylaws.  He deferred to Glen           
 Price to answer technical questions.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 686                                                                    
                                                                               
 GLEN PRICE, Foster Pepper & Shefelman, representing Napaskiak                 
 Incorporated and Swan Lake Corporation, testified via                         
 teleconference from Anchorage, saying he was unaware of why the               
 corporations had no classified boards before 1989.  He had                    
 represented Napaskiak and Swan Lake for two or three years.  The              
 corporations had attempted to address the issue at their last two             
 annual meetings, but had only obtained a majority vote at each                
 meeting, not the two-thirds vote required to amend articles.  He              
 added there were probably other corporations to which HB 392 would            
 apply, but he did not know which corporations had classified                  
 boards.  He thought polling Native corporation villages might be              
 required to obtain that information, which was not on file with the           
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development.                              
                                                                               
 Number 760                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked Mr. Price if the villages having                    
 classified boards in place prior to 1989 required a simple majority           
 vote.                                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. PRICE responded that he thought so; before July 1, 1989, it               
 could be in the bylaws.  Because a board could have amended the               
 bylaws, he thought boards rather than shareholders of most                    
 corporations had enacted the change.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 819                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN clarified that in no way did the legislation attempt            
 to alter the checks and balances in place.  However, the majority             
 of small communities had five directors, each up for election every           
 year.  In the case of Napaskiak and Swan Lake, they were trying to            
 expand the number of directors and institute staggered terms to               
 provide continuity.                                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT asked whether HB 392 would affect regional                
 corporations.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. PRICE confirmed that it would not.  He said it specifically               
 referenced village corporations only.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 908                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON noted that the language of July 1, 1989,             
 was highly specific.  He asked Mr. Price what the history of the              
 1989 language was and why it was included.                                    
                                                                               
 MR. PRICE responded that July 1, 1989, was the effective date of              
 the corporations code currently in place.  Prior to that,                     
 corporations could provide for classified boards in their bylaws.             
 Under the new code, there must be authority in the articles if                
 there was no classified board before July 1, 1989.  For pre-                  
 existing corporations, as of July 1, 1989, they needed a two-thirds           
 vote to amend the articles.  However, he said, those corporations             
 cannot even get two-thirds attendance at a meeting.                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON wanted to know if there had been discussion of           
 the difference between treatment of village corporations existing             
 before and after 1989.                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. PRICE responded he was unaware of such discussion.                        
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if there were any further comments or questions           
 from the committee.  Hearing none, he indicated he wanted to                  
 consider passing the bill from committee.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 1109                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR ALAN AUSTERMAN moved that HB 392 move from committee with            
 individual recommendations.  There being no objection, it was so              
 ordered.                                                                      
 HB 383 - REIMBURSE FOR LOCAL SERVICE TO INEBRIATES                          
                                                                               
 Number 1122                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN introduced the next item of business, HB 383,                   
 indicating the committee packets contained the bill; the sponsor              
 statement; a zero fiscal note from the Department of Health and               
 Social Services; a fiscal note from the Department of Community and           
 Regional Affairs; relevant statutes; support documents; and a legal           
 opinion from Division of Legal and Research Services regarding use            
 of the mental health trust income account.  He invited Tom Wright             
 to present the bill on his behalf.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 1180                                                                   
                                                                               
 TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Ivan, presented           
 the sponsor statement.  Under AS 47.37.170, he said, a person who             
 appears intoxicated and incapacitated in a public place will be               
 taken into protective custody and placed in an approved public                
 treatment facility or a state or municipal detention facility.                
 This person must then be examined by a licensed physician or other            
 qualified health practitioner as soon as possible.  If the person             
 is found to be incapacitated by alcohol, the person is detained for           
 no more than 48 hours in a health facility or for no more than 12             
 hours in a detention facility.  The costs of this program to the              
 municipalities and the public health facilities are tremendous.  He           
 said Representative Ivan introduced HB 383 to offer a solution that           
 will reduce or eliminate the fiscal responsibilities that                     
 municipalities and public health facilities bear each year                    
 undertaking what Representative Ivan feels is an unfunded mandate.            
                                                                               
 MR. WRIGHT explained that the situation was exacerbated by what               
 occurred in Dillingham over the last year.  He referred to the                
 fiscal note from the Department of Health and Social services,                
 which he said contained a history of what took place there.  In               
 addition, he said, the problem was ongoing statewide.                         
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN thanked Mr. Wright and asked if there were questions            
 or comments from the committee.  Hearing none, he proceeded to take           
 testimony from teleconference participants.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 1295                                                                   
                                                                               
 CRISTY TILDEN, Program Director for Drug and Alcohol Services,                
 Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation, testified via teleconference             
 from Dillingham in support of HB 383.  She said the issue has been            
 significant for both Dillingham and other communities statewide.              
 As a health professional, she supports measures providing treatment           
 and safety for persons incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.  However,           
 the statute as written compels good treatment without compensation.           
 She commented that it has been a bitter pill for Dillingham and               
 other communities.                                                            
                                                                               
 MS. TILDEN added that she is a member of the Advisory Board on                
 Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  She said the board supports HB 383 but            
 has further suggestions to improve the statute, including adding              
 substances besides alcohol and redefining "incapacitated."                    
                                                                               
 Number 1438                                                                   
                                                                               
 JAN McCARTNEY, Patient Accounts Manager, Bristol Bay Area Health              
 Corporation, testified via teleconference from Dillingham.  She               
 stated she supports HB 383, and stressed the hardship put on small            
 communities by unfunded mandates.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1527                                                                   
                                                                               
 GEORGE YOUNG, Fire Chief, City of Bethel, spoke via teleconference            
 in support of HB 383.  He asked whether the bill was intended to              
 apply only when a municipality placed people under protective                 
 custody, or if it would also allow medical services, including fire           
 department services, to recover losses from people rendered                   
 unconscious or having impaired mobility.                                      
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN responded that HB 383 asks the state to provide                 
 funding to reimburse municipalities or established villages that              
 have detention facilities.                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. YOUNG reiterated his support, and added he would seek                     
 information on how to make this applicable to ambulance services              
 not involved with protective custody.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1631                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHRIS LIU, Police Chief, City of Bethel, testified via                        
 teleconference from Bethel, expressing gratitude that the needs of            
 the people in the delta were being addressed.  From 1985-1995, an             
 average of 938 persons were detained for protective custody, with             
 1,124 people detained in 1995.  The financial burden was                      
 significant, costing the police department hundreds of thousands.             
 He and his fellow chiefs of police agreed the state of Alaska must            
 address unfunded mandates, this being the most significant one.               
                                                                               
 Number 1719                                                                   
                                                                               
 DAVE TRANTHAM spoke via teleconference from Bethel, testifying as             
 a senior citizen in support of HB 383.  He agreed with previous               
 speakers that this unfunded mandate was costly, and added that the            
 City of Bethel had attempted to collect a $300 fee from individuals           
 picked up for their own protection.  However, the City was often              
 unable to collect, and the cost was passed on to Bethel's citizens            
 through taxation and reduced services in other areas.  He expressed           
 appreciation to the committee and the Alaska State Legislature for            
 joining with Bethel to help solve this problem.                               
                                                                               
 Number 1927                                                                   
                                                                               
 ANASTASIA COOK, Association of Village Council Presidents (AVCP)              
 Receiving Home, Bethel, testified via teleconference in support of            
 HB 383.  Children of people in protective custody were often placed           
 in emergency shelters and receiving homes.  One-third to one-half             
 of the AVCP Receiving Home's cases related to protective custody;             
 often the children were in the shelters for three weeks to a month.           
 She asked that these children be kept in mind.                                
                                                                               
 Number 1938                                                                   
                                                                               
 BOB CHARLES, Vice President of Operations, Association of Village             
 Council Presidents (AVCP), Bethel, testified via teleconference in            
 support of HB 383.  As a follow-up to Ms. Cook's testimony, he                
 asked the committee to consider amending the bill to reimburse both           
 those who care for children impacted by protective custody cases              
 and Village Public Safety Officers who provide services relating to           
 such cases, as the two groups are often poorly compensated.                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN thanked Mr. Charles and asked him to please forward             
 any proposed amendments to Tom Wright for consideration.                      
                                                                               
 Number 2050                                                                   
                                                                               
 EDMON MYERS, Administrator, Kodiak Island Hospital/Care Center,               
 testified via teleconference in support of HB 383, saying he                  
 concurred with the majority of testimony heard previously.  At his            
 hospital, there were $70,000 to $80,000 in unreimbursed costs that            
 probably fell within the relevant categories.  Patients in "gray              
 areas" probably represented an additional $100,000 to $120,000.               
 Unreimbursed costs were compensated for by other users and hurt the           
 medical community a great deal.  In addition, the hospital                    
 maintained a security force to protect staff from inebriated                  
 patients, adding to costs.                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. MYERS said Kodiak police officers often call an ambulance to              
 transport inebriated persons to the hospital, resulting in a                  
 question as to when the person is in protective custody.  Police              
 may wait at the back door and arrest a person once they had been              
 medically evaluated and released.  HB 383 would eliminate problems            
 of defining protective custody for purposes of reimbursement.                 
                                                                               
 Number 2239                                                                   
                                                                               
 DENNIS OAKLAND, Chief of Police, City of Homer, testified via                 
 teleconference in support of HB 383.  Despite Homer having fewer              
 inebriates than some other communities, he said, unreimbursed                 
 expenses ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for                    
 incarceration, medical and attached liability costs.  In addition,            
 because reimbursement was affected, many inebriated individuals who           
 committed minor crimes were charged with those crimes in situations           
 where they might not otherwise have been charged, adding to the               
 criminal justice system load.  He added that the 17 communities in            
 Alaska with contract jails are not reimbursed for individuals                 
 brought in under Title 47.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 2312                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN referred to recommendations forwarded to the               
 committee by Mr. Oakland and asked if he wanted to address those in           
 his testimony.                                                                
 MR. OAKLAND deferred to the author of that information, William               
 Walters, who had been in charge of the Homer jail for several                 
 years.                                                                        
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN noted that Representative Al Vezey had joined the               
 meeting and called on William Walters to testify.                             
                                                                               
 Number 2357                                                                   
                                                                               
 WILLIAM WALTERS, Judicial Services Officer, Police Department, City           
 of Homer, spoke via teleconference and said the problem in Homer              
 was getting individuals out of a jail environment and under medical           
 supervision.  Because many intoxicated persons had severe medical             
 crises as they withdrew from alcohol, the jail was not the                    
 appropriate place for them.  Hospitals were concerned with                    
 liability, unreimbursed costs and the lack of statutory detention             
 authority at the medical facility.  He referred to his written                
 suggestions to add a liability waiver absent gross negligence or              
 intentional misconduct on the part of the facility, and to provide            
 authority in section 170(a) whereby medical staff "may" detain                
 these people.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. WALTERS stated support for HB 383 in concept, but added he                
 would like a provision in the bill for direct reimbursement by the            
 state to medical facilities, rather than having a facility petition           
 the municipality; this would save significantly on administrative             
 costs.  However, he could live with the bill as is, if necessary.             
                                                                               
 Tape 96-1, Side B                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 GARY GRANDY, Administrator, Petersburg Medical Center (PMC), and              
 Council Member, Petersburg City Council, testified via                        
 teleconference in support of HB 383.  He said PMC includes a                  
 hospital, nursing home and physicians' offices; their bad debts               
 amount to about $100,000 per year.  He gave an example of an                  
 inebriated person who attempted suicide, resulting in a medical               
 bill of $5,000.  The medical center sought reimbursement from the             
 Indian Health Services and SEARHC programs, but those programs,               
 which do not pay costs related to alcohol, reimbursed only a few              
 hundred dollars for treatment of the patient's wrists.  Mr. Grandy            
 said the hospital has $10,000 to $20,000 per year written off the             
 books, which they can no longer absorb.                                       
                                                                               
 MR. GRANDY expressed concern about numerous demands on the mental             
 health trust.  He wondered if the committee would look at using               
 general funds, which are fed in part by alcohol and tobacco taxes.            
                                                                               
 Number 126                                                                    
                                                                               
 GREG PORTER, Administrator, Cordova Medical Center, testified via             
 teleconference, stating he supported HB 383 and concurred with                
 previous testimony.  A small facility owned by the City of Cordova,           
 the center's costs for these cases ranged from $60,000 up per year.           
 Mr. Porter said he understood the need for medical treatment of               
 inebriates, as he knew of patients who had nearly died in the jail.           
 However, the city had no funds to support the hospital and operated           
 hand-to-mouth.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 134                                                                    
                                                                               
 MIKE HOLSMAN, Planning Officer, Department of Health and Human                
 Services, Municipality of Anchorage, testified via teleconference             
 in support of HB 383, agreeing with previous speakers.  A burden on           
 local hospitals and police, the problem costs the Municipality of             
 Anchorage several hundred thousand dollars per year of local                  
 taxpayer money.  He asked the committee to look at statewide                  
 actions to prevent or reduce public drinking.  He noted that many             
 inebriates have incomes of $750-850.  He suggested inebriates pay             
 for their treatment; for example, their checks could be reduced or            
 their permanent fund dividends garnished.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 328                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHRIS HLADICK, Manager, City of Dillingham, testified via                     
 teleconference.  He agreed with previous testimony and supported HB
 383.  He added he also supported an amendment to the bill providing           
 direct reimbursement to medical facilities.                                   
                                                                               
 Number 387                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARY PAVIL, Representative, Orutsaramuit Native Council, and                  
 Council Member, City of Bethel, testified via teleconference in               
 support of HB 383.  She asserted that as long as it was not a crime           
 to be drunk in public, communities would be mandated to put people            
 in protective custody.  She commended the police department for               
 saving a large number of lives and suggested hidden costs be                  
 covered as well as more obvious ones.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 445                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN noted that the teleconference testimony was concluded           
 and called on Kimberly Metcalfe-Helmar to testify.                            
                                                                               
 Number 471                                                                    
                                                                               
 KIMBERLY METCALFE-HELMAR, Special Assistant, Office of the                    
 Commissioner, Department of Community and Regional Affairs (DCRA),            
 said the department's concern with HB 383 was the reimbursement               
 program envisioned in the bill.  The grants administrator in the              
 Division of Administrative Services would most likely oversee the             
 program.  DCRA feels additional staff would be required to operate            
 the new program effectively.  They have asked for a Range 13                  
 administrative assistant under the supervision of the existing                
 grants administrator.                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 531                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked whether, in the DCRA review, they had              
 looked at how much money would be disbursed through the program.              
                                                                               
 MS. METCALFE HELMAR said they had not; the amounts were uncertain             
 at this point.                                                                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated one of his concerns was that                      
 collections might not be a big priority if all that was required              
 for reimbursement was filling out a form.                                     
                                                                               
 MS. METCALFE HELMAR responded that DCRA's concern was whether they            
 could handle the workload and what the staffing would be.                     
                                                                               
 Number 768                                                                    
                                                                               
 LOREN JONES, Director, Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse,                 
 Department of Health and Social Services, said their concern was to           
 protect people and engage them in treatment, with an eye to                   
 avoiding repeat occurrences.  If a treatment facility was                     
 available, police officers, community service patrols or medical              
 personnel would take a person there.  However, he explained, many             
 communities heard from via teleconference either lacked residential           
 or detoxification facilities, or had needs exceeding available                
 resources.  In those cases, individuals sometimes ended up in jail            
 instead of getting appropriate treatment.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 725                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked Mr. Jones for an estimate of the amount            
 of money the state would need to fund reimbursements under HB 383.            
                                                                               
 MR. JONES replied that the advisory board and others had identified           
 approximately $1 million that could be used to provide increased              
 and better detoxification services.  However, he could not estimate           
 the needs of police departments, medical facilities or other                  
 providers.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN said the Bristol Bay area is doing their best to                
 solve the problems.  He stated he believed if there is a mandate,             
 the state has the responsibility to address the issue.  Alcoholism            
 prevention programs statewide need to be reassessed.                          
                                                                               
 Number 887                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. JONES said his department had worked hard with many of the                
 communities that testified.  He agreed that some of the proposed              
 amendments would be ideas the department would like to work on.               
                                                                               
 Number 931                                                                    
                                                                               
 HARLAN KNUDSON, President/CEO, Alaska State Hospital and Nursing              
 Home Association, said several members of the association had                 
 testified previously.  He stated that they strongly support HB 383.           
 He admitted that because of the $500 million fiscal gap, it seemed            
 a bad time to ask for funding; however, the issue was vitally                 
 important.  He suggested the committee look at reports like                   
 "Healthy People 2000," and offered to be a resource on the issue.             
                                                                               
 Number 1006                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN asked if there were questions from the committee.               
 Hearing none, he concluded the testimony on HB 383, adding that he            
 would invite further testimony from people across the state at a              
 future meeting.  He proposed appointing a subcommittee and asked              
 for direction from the committee.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON commented that Mr. Knudson was right; the                
 committee must look at not only what was being spent but also the             
 cost to communities if the money was not spent.  He indicated                 
 concern about the substantial amount of new money required.  He               
 referred to a memo from Bartlett Memorial Hospital in Juneau                  
 addressing the need for reimbursement, and stated he thought this             
 was perhaps one of the most important issues facing many                      
 communities, including his own.  Representative Elton commended Co-           
 Chair Ivan for addressing the issue, and volunteered to serve on              
 the subcommittee.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1159                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN appointed Co-Chair Austerman to head a subcommittee             
 to consider HB 383; Co-Chair Austerman indicated he would contact             
 committee members and form the subcommittee.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 1242                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he understood the communities to be                 
 saying that providing the services in question was not a high                 
 priority in their budgets and communities were therefore turning to           
 the state for funding.  He wondered if they were getting a vote at            
 the local level telling the committee this was their top priority.            
                                                                               
 Number 1281                                                                   
                                                                               
 CO-CHAIR IVAN said he appreciated Representative Vezey's comments,            
 and that he also understood the dire situation in some of the                 
 municipalities.  Dillingham, especially, was trying to address                
 other priorities as well.  He suggested the subcommittee look for             
 ways and means to fund the program by everyone involved.                      
 Number 1364                                                                   
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 There being no further business to conduct, CO-CHAIR IVAN adjourned           
 the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee meeting at 2:25            
 p.m.                                                                          
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects