Legislature(2019 - 2020)BUTROVICH 205

03/13/2020 01:30 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Audio Topic
01:35:00 PM Start
01:35:24 PM Confirmation Hearing(s): State Medical Board
02:29:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
State Medical Board
- Samuel Abbate
- Christopher Gay
- Steve Parker
- Richard Wein
-Invited Testimony Followed by Public Testimony-
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      SENATE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                    
                         March 13, 2020                                                                                         
                           1:35 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator David Wilson, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Natasha von Imhof, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                           
Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Mike Shower                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
State Medical Board                                                                                                           
Christopher Gay - Anchorage                                                                                                     
Steve Parker - Palmer                                                                                                           
Richard Wien - Sitka                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - CONFIRMATIONS ADVANCED                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTOPHER GAY, M.D., Appointee                                                                                                
State Medical Board                                                                                                             
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified at appointee to the State Medical                                                               
Board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
STEVE PARKER, M.D., Appointee                                                                                                   
State Medical Board                                                                                                             
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified at appointee to the State Medical                                                               
Board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD WEIN, M.D., Appointee                                                                                                   
State Medical Board                                                                                                             
Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development                                                                      
Sitka, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified at appointee to  the State Medical                                                             
Board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:35:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR DAVID WILSON  called the Senate Health  and Social Services                                                             
Standing Committee meeting  to order at 1:35 p.m.  Present at the                                                               
call to  order were Senators  Giessel, Begich, and  Chair Wilson.                                                               
Senator von Imhof arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
^CONFIRMATION HEARING(S): State Medical Board                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                    CONFIRMATION HEARING(S)                                                                                 
                      State Medical Board                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:35:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WILSON   announced  the  confirmation  hearings   for  the                                                               
governor's appointees to the State Medical Board.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
He  informed members  that Dr.  Abbate notified  his office  that                                                               
morning that he was withdrawing his  name. He turned to the first                                                               
appointee on  the agenda  and asked  Dr. Gay to  speak to  why he                                                               
wants to serve on the board.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:35:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTOPHER GAY, M.D., Appointee,  State Medical Board Department                                                               
of   Commerce,  Community   and  Economic   Development  (DCCED),                                                               
Anchorage,  Alaska, said  he has  a background  in interventional                                                               
pain  management. Opioids  and pain  management are  a big  issue                                                               
across the country,  especially in Alaska. He said  he brings his                                                               
expertise  in opioids  and pain  management to  the board.  He is                                                               
interested in  making sure  that patients in  the state  are safe                                                               
and that providers are following  the law. Legislators spent time                                                               
crafting  statutes that  the board  interprets and  enforces. The                                                               
board's duty is to help  police medical professionals and provide                                                               
good, safe access to care for all Alaskans.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GAY said  that he  grew up  in eastern  North Carolina  with                                                               
people similar to  the ones he meets in Alaska.  He performed his                                                               
medical  training  in  anesthesiology   and  pain  management  at                                                               
Columbia University and worked at  one of largest pain management                                                               
practices in northern  Virginia. He has lived  in different parts                                                               
of the  country and has  observed different  laws. He said  he is                                                               
excited  to be  an  asset  to the  board  in  terms of  providing                                                               
specific  background information  for  some  of the  pain-related                                                               
issues the state faces.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked if he had  read the last review from the state                                                               
ombudsman.  One  of its  findings  was  the lack  of  regulations                                                               
regarding the  PDMP [Prescription  Drug Monitoring  Program], the                                                               
number of physicians not registered  with the PDMP, and no follow                                                               
through  on registration.  He  said the  expectation  is for  the                                                               
board to  develop regulations to  address this finding.  He asked                                                               
about his general philosophy about the PDMP.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR. GAY  replied he finds  the PDMP  useful. His patients  are in                                                               
pain and some were on  prescription pain medication before seeing                                                               
him. Being  able to review  his patient's history,  including the                                                               
number of  providers the patient  has seen is invaluable  for him                                                               
or anyone  prescribing controlled  substances. He said  there are                                                               
different  categories of  controlled  substances and  one of  the                                                               
biggest  complaints  he  hears   from  physicians  is  that  some                                                               
controlled substance  medications are not  necessarily addictive.                                                               
Prescribing  controlled  substances  puts an  onerous  burden  on                                                               
physicians. In  general, the  registry is  very useful,  but some                                                               
things could be tweaked.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON   said  there  is   some  discussion   of  removing                                                               
veterinarians from the PDMP requirement.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GAY  replied his  initial  reaction  is mixed  because  some                                                               
veterinarians are prescribing controlled  medications that can be                                                               
diverted. It could be useful to  make a list of medications to be                                                               
used with the  PDMP. Certain antiseizure medications  do not have                                                               
a  high addictive  value but  are  still controlled.  To have  to                                                               
check  the registry  every time  those are  prescribed can  be an                                                               
undue burden on veterinarians and physicians alike.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:42:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL asked  if had served on a  health care regulatory                                                               
board before.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. GAY answered no.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked why he  was interested in serving  on this                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. GAY answered that during his  five years in the state, he has                                                               
seen  instances of  providers engaged  in behavior  that is  less                                                               
than  the standard  of care.  He  and his  family plan  to be  in                                                               
Alaska a long  time and he wants the state  to have providers who                                                               
will do  the right thing for  him, his family members,  and other                                                               
Alaskans.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  said that  is a  great reason.  She asked  if he                                                               
applied for the  position out of interest or if  he was solicited                                                               
to apply.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. GAY indicated he was not solicited to apply.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL asked him to describe the role of the board.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:44:20 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  GAY responded  that he  views the  board as  an interpreter.                                                               
Statutes  are  made  by  the   legislative  body  and  the  board                                                               
translates those into actionable  items for providers and ensures                                                               
that  the  laws  are  enforced.   The  board  determines  whether                                                               
statutes and  regulations are violated and  ultimately decides if                                                               
a response is needed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  said he seems  to be aware  that the board  is a                                                               
quasi-adjudicatory  body   with  investigators  who   work  under                                                               
board's guidance.  The board itself makes  judgements, similar to                                                               
a  jury. She  relayed  that  the state  is  in  a quandary  about                                                               
veterinarians dispensing  from their clinics for  animals. One of                                                               
the common  medications veterinarians  prescribe is  a controlled                                                               
substance, tramadol,  which in  rural villages  sells for  a high                                                               
price  per  pill.  She  said   tramadol  has  been  listed  as  a                                                               
controlled substance  and veterinarians  have asked if  the owner                                                               
or the pet name  should be entered in the PDMP.  She asked him to                                                               
ponder that issue and pass along any advice he may have.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
DR. GAY said  he would think about it. He  offered that given the                                                               
structure of the  PDMP and the way it is  queried, there could be                                                               
an issue either way.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL,  noting that every  person on the  State Medical                                                               
Board will be new, asked if he has been offered any orientation.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. GAY  answered nothing  formal but  he understands  that there                                                               
will be  some orientation at  the next board meeting.  Also, some                                                               
resources have been made available  so board members could orient                                                               
themselves on  policies, procedures,  and regulations  related to                                                               
the board.                                                                                                                      
1:48:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH  referenced  his  statement  about  bad  provider                                                               
performance and asked  if he referred those bad  providers to the                                                               
board.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. GAY  replied the  short answer  is no.  The longer  answer is                                                               
that he sometimes finds out about  them after the fact or through                                                               
hearsay.  He expressed  interest in  finding out  more about  the                                                               
avenues in which the providers have been brought to justice.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH  asked if  he  was  familiar  with the  issue  of                                                               
[transferring  oversight of  paramedics  from  the State  Medical                                                               
Board] and if he had an opinion.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON clarified that  emergency medical technicians (EMTs)                                                               
are under the  State Medical Board. Under SB  173, that authority                                                               
would be  moved to the  Department of Health and  Social Services                                                               
(DHSS), where  all the  rest of  the Emergency  Management System                                                               
(EMS) is  housed. The only  thing not handled  by the EMS  is the                                                               
issuance  of  licenses for  medical  technicians,  which is  done                                                               
through  the  medical board.  The  previous  State Medical  Board                                                               
supported this  change, but the  committee was interested  in the                                                               
views of the new board.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. GAY  said he was not  familiar with the proposed  change, but                                                               
given the information  just provided, it makes sense  to have the                                                               
licenses regulated by  DHSS. He added that he  reserves the right                                                               
to change his opinion.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON clarified  that it is for  licensed mobile intensive                                                               
care paramedics.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR BEGICH expressed  surprise that Dr. Gay  was not familiar                                                               
with  the issue.  He offered  that Dr.  Gay's credentials  looked                                                               
great and  he appreciated the  comments about his  intentions and                                                               
reasons he applied.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON noted  that SB  173 was  in the  Finance Committee.                                                               
That would  be a question to  follow up on in  the Senate Finance                                                               
Committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL reported that at  noon President Trump declared a                                                               
national  emergency  or  disaster  and  referenced  removing  the                                                               
regulatory  restrictions  on  physicians  providing  care  across                                                               
state lines, regardless of licensure  in those respective states.                                                               
She asked Dr. Gay if he had an opinion on that.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR.  GAY  replied the  board  will  need  to make  a  state-level                                                               
assessment of  what Alaska needs. If  it is in the  best interest                                                               
of the  state, he would be  in agreement with that  proposal, but                                                               
he would certainly impose a time limit.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  agreed there are  some elements of  concern. She                                                               
characterized  Alaska  is  as  an  end-of-the-road  location  and                                                               
sometimes people come to Alaska  to escape their records in other                                                               
states. She  offered her  belief that having  the door  wide open                                                               
can be a double-edged sword.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:54:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON thanked Dr. Gay for putting his name forward.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:55:06 PM                                                                                                                    
STEVE PARKER,  M.D., Appointee,  State Medical  Board, Department                                                               
of Commerce, Community and  Economic Development (DCCED), Palmer,                                                               
Alaska, said he has a family  medical practice that offers a wide                                                               
spectrum of  care, including veteran  care at the  Palmer Pioneer                                                               
Home. He  was raised  in Michigan and  studied at  Michigan State                                                               
University College  of Human  Medicine. He  served nine  years of                                                               
active  duty  in  the  U.S.  Army.  He  practiced  obstetrics  in                                                               
Michigan  and in  2009  moved  to Alaska  where  he continued  in                                                               
obstetrics  until about  2012. At  that  time he  opened his  own                                                               
clinic.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARKER  said the  military provided  lots of  opportunity for                                                               
leadership. He  has served as  a medical and clinic  director and                                                               
has been  involved in numerous  committees through  the military.                                                               
He  has been  active in  hospital committees  in Michigan  and at                                                               
Mat-Su  Regional Hospital.  His current  interest in  the medical                                                               
board was  sparked by his  own interaction with the  board. After                                                               
30  years  of  practicing  medicine, he  had  his  first  patient                                                               
complaint. He thought it was frivolous,  yet it took two years to                                                               
complete the process and the  outcome was confusing. Through this                                                               
process,  he  realized  that the  board  could  have  significant                                                               
impact on  medical providers  and patients. He  said he  hoped to                                                               
assist   his  colleagues   by  making   accurate  and   efficient                                                               
investigations and by  focusing on complaints that  have a strong                                                               
potential  for improving  patient  care. He  said his  experience                                                               
with the board could adversely  affect attracting quality medical                                                               
talent  to the  state. That  is an  important issue  since Alaska                                                               
needs  more  physicians. When  the  state  attracts good  medical                                                               
talent, it protects patients from poor medical practices.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARKER said  the PDMP can be burdensome for  some of the less                                                               
scheduled medications. He  would encourage a focus  on the highly                                                               
addictive medications, as previously  discussed by Dr. Gay. Using                                                               
the PDMP creates a record, which shows usage.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARKER said  he does not have  a lot of insight  into the EMT                                                               
issue, although  he agreed with Dr.  Gay that there did  not seem                                                               
to be any reason not to transfer paramedic licensure to DHSS.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  said the issue  with the PDMP  is that a  number of                                                               
physicians are  not registered to  use the PDMP but  are licensed                                                               
through the  DEA. The audit concern  was that the board  needs to                                                               
develop  regulations to  enforce  registration with  the PDMP  by                                                               
those  licensees. He  asked the  appointees to  think about  that                                                               
issue. The second  issue related to veterinarians  using the PDMP                                                               
and whether  they should track  the controlled  substance through                                                               
the  animal's name,  the radio  frequency tag,  or the  owner. He                                                               
asked Dr. Parker for his initial reaction.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARKER  said he thinks the  only way to track  the controlled                                                               
substance would  be through the dog  owner, but he would  need to                                                               
consider it further.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:01:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  VON IMHOF  said this  is an  example of  the interesting                                                               
conundrums this  board will be  facing. She noted  his motivation                                                               
for joining the  board and offered her belief that  there will be                                                               
different challenges and consequences to consider.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL asked  how he  would  describe the  role of  the                                                               
State Medical Board.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARKER  responded that the  State Medical Board  must license                                                               
good,  talented physicians  and other  medical personnel  to make                                                               
sure these professionals  regulate their practices in  a way that                                                               
meets a  level of care. The  board looks for practices  that fall                                                               
out  of line  and either  corrects or  disciplines those  medical                                                               
professionals.  At the  same time,  the  board potentially  helps                                                               
medical  providers who  are out  of  the norm  to effectively  be                                                               
rehabilitated to a better mode of practice.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GIESSEL said  she particularly  appreciated helping  MDs                                                               
 out  of  the norm   to  get  rehabilitated because  health  care                                                               
professionals are  just as susceptible to  addictive behaviors as                                                               
the general  population and  sometimes the  board must  deal with                                                               
that issue. She asked his  opinion of the emergency regulation to                                                               
allow physicians  to move from  state to state  without requiring                                                               
further licensure from the states.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:05:16 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. PARKER  said if  there is  a true  emergency and  someone can                                                               
review  the other  state's licensing  board,  he dd  not see  any                                                               
difficulty with  bringing people in  for a short period  of time,                                                               
but the timeline should be well delineated.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL  noted the  lack of experience  in the  new board                                                               
and suggested  he review  the State  Medical Board's  most recent                                                               
sunset audit. She explained that  all boards and commissions have                                                               
sunset audits, which  scrutinize and evaluate how  well the board                                                               
fulfills  its mission.  Audits  highlight  board deficiencies  as                                                               
well as positives, which can be useful.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked about his role at the Palmer Pioneer Home.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARKER  answered that  he is the  medical director.  About 15                                                               
patients are  veterans. His  contract is  through the  state. The                                                               
vast majority  of these veterans  have dementia, but he  also has                                                               
some private patients at the Pioneer Home.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON asked  if he  generally  sees the  veterans at  the                                                               
Palmer Pioneer Home, which is a Veterans home.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARKER answered yes; he sees just one wing.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON asked  what the Pioneer Home is doing  to ensure the                                                               
health and safety of the residents during Covid-19.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DR. PARKER  replied people  who are  sick are  not coming  to the                                                               
Pioneer  Home;  there  are   sanitizer  stations  throughout  the                                                               
building; and  sick people are  quarantined. He said he  does not                                                               
believe  that  has  changed  from the  influenza  season  to  the                                                               
coronavirus season.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:09:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON thanked him for being  willing to serve on the board                                                               
and invited Dr. Richard Wein to testify.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:09:40 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD WEIN,  M.D., Appointee,  State Medical  Board, Department                                                               
of Commerce,  Community and Economic Development  (DCCED), Sitka,                                                               
Alaska, gave  his adoptive Tlingit name  and said he is  a member                                                               
of the Wolf house and his moiety  is Eagle. He is a physician and                                                               
surgeon and  has spent more than  20 of his 40  years of clinical                                                               
and administrative experience in Sitka.  He is board certified by                                                               
the  American Board  of  Surgery  and a  fellow  of the  American                                                               
College  of Surgeons.  He has  a  Doctor of  Medicine from  Tufts                                                               
University School of Medicine, a  bachelor's degree from Columbia                                                               
University,  and  a  master    degree   in  journalism  from  the                                                               
Colombia Graduate  School of  Journalism. Throughout  his career,                                                               
he has been a strong patient  advocate. Through his many years of                                                               
clinical  practice,  he  has  a   strong  background  in  quality                                                               
assurance.  He is  well versed  in reviewing  medical charts.  He                                                               
learned  how to  review credentials.  That  is one  of the  major                                                               
things a board  member does as far as credentialing.  He has been                                                               
chief of  staff at a hospital  with more than 520  physicians. He                                                               
has been director  of surgery for more than 125  surgeons. He has                                                               
been a division chief of general  surgery for 26 surgeons, and he                                                               
has  been on  the executive  committee of  the board  of a  large                                                               
hospital group.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN  said he  is aware  of the issues  facing the  board and                                                               
looks forward  to helping it  address and solve these  issues and                                                               
move forward  to promote  the highest  health care  standards for                                                               
the state  and its  citizens. The  board members  are all  new so                                                               
they are  on a steep learning  curve. As far as  orientation, the                                                               
board  met  and had  an  excellent  presentation on  constructing                                                               
emergency  regulations.  These  orientations  will  be  regularly                                                               
scheduled. Clearly, the  major portion of training  will be board                                                               
members reviewing various regulations  and statutes governing how                                                               
the board functions.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN said that as far as  the PDMP, he remembers the old days                                                               
when   the  pharmacist   would   advise  him   if  patients   had                                                               
surreptitiously   been  getting   prescriptions.   The  PDMP   is                                                               
excellent  and needs  to be  optimized. As  far as  veterinarians                                                               
using the  PDMP, he believes  that any controlled substance  is a                                                               
substance  that  can  be  abused and  veterinarians  need  to  be                                                               
registered. One way to handle  a veterinarian situation is to get                                                               
a urine test  from the dog or cat to  ensure that the medications                                                               
are  being  utilized. In  Sitka,  ketamine,  which is  an  abused                                                               
substance,  was  stolen from  a  vet  clinic.  At that  time,  he                                                               
thought  the  regulation  should   require  that  any  controlled                                                               
substances must be handled in same  way that a hospital or clinic                                                               
does, including a lockup with records of distribution.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN said  as far as EMS,  it is not necessarily  a good idea                                                               
to fragment health  care administration. He would need  to take a                                                               
closer  look at  that  since paramedics  deliver medications  and                                                               
perform procedures in the field.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN said regarding moving  practitioners across state lines,                                                               
the board  needs to  develop a "hyperpath   to get  licensed. The                                                               
state must  have documentation that  someone is duly  licensed in                                                               
one state.  These days that  is easily  done. The board  needs to                                                               
recognize the  emergency nature of this  and allow appropriately-                                                               
licensed physicians to come to the state.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN said he is aware  of the challenges facing the board and                                                               
looks forward to helping it be the best it can be.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:17:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GIESSEL  asked  him  to   talk  about  being  placed  on                                                               
administrative  leave  from  the  Sitka  Community  Hospital,  as                                                               
reported in an article from February 28, 2017.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
DR.  WEIN clarified  that  he was  not  placed on  administrative                                                               
leave; it was  that his contract was not renewed.  He said it was                                                               
a situation  involving employment  aspects and  that none  of the                                                               
issues  were   about  patient  care  or   his  interactions  with                                                               
patients.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL thanked him for his answer.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:19:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  asked how many  times he has referred  someone to                                                               
the board for bad practice.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN  said he has  not done  that individually in  Alaska. In                                                               
New Jersey,  as chief  of staff,  he routinely  had to  deal with                                                               
physicians who  were having difficulties  and he  suspended three                                                               
to five of them. In New  Jersey, by statute, someone suspended is                                                               
automatically reported to the board.  In Alaska, he has had great                                                               
difficulty in moving  things forward as he tried to  go through a                                                               
chain of command.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BEGICH asked  if there  were  any other  times when  his                                                               
contract was not renewed.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN  answered that  he worked  for SEARCH  [Southeast Alaska                                                               
Regional  Health Consortium]  for  about 10  years.  He signed  a                                                               
nondisclosure  agreement  and when  he  left  SEARCH gave  him  a                                                               
generous severance. He said he  cannot speak of the matter. After                                                               
he left Sitka Community Hospital,  he served as an assemblyman in                                                               
Sitka. Seven of his 10 years at  SEARCH, he was on call 24/7. For                                                               
many years he  was only the surgeon at  Sitka Community Hospital.                                                               
He treats his patients well,  enjoys the practice of medicine and                                                               
sometimes things happen and people move on.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   BEGICH   said   legislators  are   charged   with   the                                                               
responsibility   of   determining   that  people   appointed   to                                                               
regulatory boards,  especially those that  regulate professionals                                                               
who  manage life  decisions, are  fair and  equitable. He  said I                                                               
hope you understand the reasons  committee members must ask these                                                               
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN replied  he appreciates it and welcomes it.  He would be                                                               
happy if SEARCH released him  from the nondisclosure agreement so                                                               
that he  could speak  freely about  it, but  there are  no health                                                               
care  issues.  He  worked  diligently   and  cared  for  tens  of                                                               
thousands  of people.  He has  nothing to  be concerned  about in                                                               
relation  to his  professional  care. He  has  a great  knowledge                                                               
about how medicine works.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GIESSEL asked where his clinical practice is currently.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
DR. WEIN answered  that he is retired from surgery.  He serves on                                                               
the Sitka  assembly. Patients still come  to him and ask  him for                                                               
advice  about their  current  care. He  advocates  for them  when                                                               
patients have  trouble understanding  what their  physicians have                                                               
told them.  He will  speak with their  physicians and  help guide                                                               
them through  what is  sometimes a  complicated maze.  After more                                                               
than 40 years  of practice, it is still important  to advance the                                                               
cause of patient advocacy.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:27:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON  opened public testimony  and after  ascertaining no                                                               
one   wished  to   testify,  closed   public  testimony   on  the                                                               
confirmation hearings.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:27:25 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:27:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON reconvened the meeting and solicited a motion.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:28:20 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:28:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON reconvened the meeting.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR VON  IMHOF stated that  in accordance with  AS 39.05.080,                                                               
the  Senate   Health  and  Social  Services   Standing  Committee                                                               
reviewed  the  following  and   recommends  the  appointments  be                                                               
forwarded to a joint session for consideration:                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
State Medical Board                                                                                                           
Christopher Gay - Anchorage                                                                                                     
Steve Parker - Palmer                                                                                                           
Richard Wien - Sitka                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
[Signing  the  reports  regarding   appointments  to  boards  and                                                               
commissions in  no way reflects  individual members'  approval or                                                               
disapproval  of  the  appointees;   the  nominations  are  merely                                                               
forwarded   to  the   full   legislature   for  confirmation   or                                                               
rejection.]                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:29:20 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Wilson adjourned the Senate Health and Social Services                                                                    
Standing Committee at 2:29 p.m.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HSS Medical Board Abbate #1.pdf SHSS 3/13/2020 1:30:00 PM
Governor's Appointees to State Medical Board
HSS Medical Board Parker #1.pdf SHSS 3/13/2020 1:30:00 PM
Governor's Appointees to State Medical Board
HSS Medical Board Wein #1.pdf SHSS 3/13/2020 1:30:00 PM
Governor's Appointees to State Medical Board
HSS Medical Board Gay #1.pdf SHSS 3/13/2020 1:30:00 PM
Governor's Appointees to State Medical Board