Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/11/1996 02:55 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE April 11, 1996 2:55 P.M. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Tim Kelly, Chairman Senator John Torgerson, Vice Chairman Senator Mike Miller Senator Judy Salo MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Jim Duncan COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 359(JUD) am "An Act relating to the appointment and confirmation process for members of certain boards, commissions, and similar bodies; relating to terms of certain appointees; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 216 "An Act relating to fees or assessment of costs for certain services provided by state government, including hearing costs related to the real estate surety fund; fees for authorization to operate a postsecondary educational institution or for an agent's permit to perform services for a postsecondary educational institution; administrative fees for self-insurers in workers' compensation; business license fees; fees for activities related to coastal zone management, training relating to emergency management response, regulation of pesticides and broadcast chemicals, and subdivision plans for sewage waste disposal or treatment; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 480(HES) "An Act relating to physician assistants." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 450(FIN) "An Act relating to trademarks; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 284(FIN) "An Act relating to the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 60(HES) "An Act relating to impairment rating guides used in evaluation of certain workers' compensation claims." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 73(L&C) "An Act relating to licensure of manicurists." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 359 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 4/9/96. SB 216 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 3/7/96. HB 480 - No previous action to consider. HB 450 - No previous action to consider. HB 284 - No previous action to consider. HB 60 - No previous action to consider. HB 73 - No previous action to consider. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Gene Therriault State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 480. Jack Heesch Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants 751 Old Richardson Hwy, #200 Fairbanks, AK 99701 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 480. Jerry Reinwand Blue Cross P.O. Box 327, MS 355 Seattle, WA 98111-0327 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed HB 480. Katie Campbell Division of Insurance Department of Commerce and Economic Development P.O. Box 110805 Juneau, AK 99811-0805 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 480. Wilda Whitaker, Staff Representative Gene Therriault State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Staff to sponsor of HB 450. Amy Daugherty, Staff Representative Alan Austerman State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Staff to sponsor of HB 284. Jonathan Sperber, Staff Representative Bettye Davis State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Staff to sponsor of HB 60. Paul Grossi, Director Division of Workers' Compensation P.O. Box 25512 Juneau, AK 99802-5512 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 60. Representative Brice State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 73. Mary Jo Burns Douglas, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 73. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 96-26, SIDE A Number 001 HB 359 APPOINTMENT PROCESS FOR BDS & COMM'NS CHAIRMAN KELLY called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 2:55 p.m. and announced HB 359 to be up for consideration. He asked his staff, Sherman Ernouf, if Representative Porter concurred with the committee substitute. He answered that he did. SENATOR TORGERSON moved to adopt the CS to HB 359. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass SCSHB 359 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SB 216 OMNIBUS STATE FEES & COST ASSESSMENTS SENATOR KELLY announced SB 216 to be up for consideration. SENATOR TORGERSON moved to adopt the CS to SB 216. There were no objections and it was so ordered. SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass CSSB 216 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. HB 480 PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT, sponsor, said this legislation clarified the process that is currently in place for granting a physician assistant the authority to practice in the State and to prohibit unfair insurance discrimination against them. JACK HEESCH, Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants, said it is his understanding from the Division of Insurance that inclusion of the physician assistants on the nondiscrimination list does not guarantee anybody a billing rate. He explained that insurance companies pay what is usual and customary. People who work for a doctor in a clinic and bill for physician services include the physician, a physician assistant, an advanced nurse practitioner, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, an audiologist, and a speech pathologist. These bill at what is called a physician service rate. The truth of the matter, he said, is that some physician assistants who see a patient in a doctors office bill as a physician provided service at the same rate the doctor does. In other cases they bill at a lesser rate and in many cases at a substantially lesser rate. The bottom line is AS21.36.090 (d) has nothing to do with what anyone bills. It says that if a patient walks into a doctors office, he doesn't have to be concerned if his insurance covers seeing a physician assistant. It doesn't dictate the rate which is up to the insurance companies to figure out. SENATOR KELLY asked if anyone in the room objected to that statement. Number 165 JERRY REINWAND, Blue Cross, said the problem is that no one can really explain what the antidiscrimination statute really does. It's working because the Division has an interpretation that it will work in a certain direction. If this interpretation is correct, Mr. Heesch might be correct. No one knows. Their concern is with what the statute really does and what does adding physician assistants do, what are the cost and policy implications. He thought it was a better idea to back off on this bill and let them work with the Division of Insurance over the interim to define what it really does before they add more to it. Number 225 KATIE CAMPBELL, Division of Insurance, said they have historically supported this section of the bill. She said the interpretation they have given this discrimination section allows for payment of a service if a provider is licensed to provide a service under our statutes. Whoever is on that list can't be discriminated for a service. It's not their interpretation that this is setting a fee. The question has never come up, there are no court cases, there have been no questions to the Division regarding that portion of the bill. MR. HEESCH said they would like the committee to add physician assistants language that was found in SB 100. SENATOR TORGERSON moved to add that language. There was discussion and SENATOR KELLY said they would hold the bill until Tuesday and directed staff to add the physician assistant language and the intent to not set fees. HB 450 ALASKA TRADEMARK ACT SENATOR KELLY announced HB 450 to be up for consideration. WILDA WHITAKER, Staff to Representative Therriault, sponsor, read his sponsor statement saying that this legislation is intended to update the State Trademark Act and modeled it after the Trademark bill written by the International Trademark Association. This legislation was introduced at the request of the Division of Banking, Securities, and Corporations. It is needed to strengthen the intellectual property rights for Alaska's business community. SENATOR KELLY asked if there was any opposition to the bill. MS. WHITAKER replied that there was none. Number 301 SENATOR MILLER moved to pass HB 450 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. HB 284 AK COMMERCIAL FISHING & AGRICULTURE BANK SENATOR KELLY announced HB 284 to be up for consideration. AMY DAUGHERTY, Staff to Representative Alan Austerman, sponsor, of HB 284 said it changes AS44.81 and AS16.43, containing the enabling language of the Alaska Commercial Fishing and Agriculture Bank. Most of the changes in SB 284 are for clarification. SENATOR KELLY asked where the physical headquarters of CFAB was located. MS. DAUGHERTY answered that it was in Anchorage. She said that by the year 2002, CFAB will have retired all but one million dollars of their debt. SENATOR KELLY said he wanted to hold the bill until they talk to Ed Crane of CFAB. He directed staff also to check on the difference between existing and proposed language and said they would bring the bill up next Tuesday. HB 60 IMPAIRMENT RATING GUIDES FOR WORKERS COMP SENATOR KELLY announced HB 60 to be up for consideration. JONATHON SPERBER, Staff to Representative Bettye Davis, read her sponsor statement. PAUL GROSSI, Director, Workers Compensation, said they supported HB 60. SENATOR TORGERSON moved to pass HB 60 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. HB 73 LICENSURE OF MANICURISTS SENATOR KELLY announced HB 73 to be up for consideration. Number 375 REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE, sponsor, said HB 73 adds to the list of jobs that the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers oversees is the practice of manicure, mostly for health concerns. Alaska is one of the eight states nationwide that have no oversight whatsoever on the industry. SENATOR KELLY asked if the apprenticeship requirement was existing law. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE replied that other states require a certain number of hours before a person can be licensed and this is usually done within the course of their education so those requirements are addressed through the schooling they receive. SENATOR KELLY asked if there was a grandfather clause. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE replied yes there was in section 20. SENATOR KELLY asked why this was needed. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE replied that a number of constituents were concerned over the public health issue. SENATOR KELLY asked if there was a requirement for schooling. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE answered yes and those standards are established by the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers. MARY JO BURNS, Douglas resident, said her daughter's concern was the schools of cosmetology would be the only place to learn how to do this. It didn't take very long to learn and a school would cost money and take time. SENATOR KELLY noted that an apprenticeship is 350 hours. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that student permits are allowed so they can practice and receive funds from that. SENATOR TORGERSON asked on page 7, line 29 if someone currently in the practice has 180 days to comply with the act which would mean that she has to prove she has 350 hours of work. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said that referred to people who do not currently hold a license recognized by the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers. Those who hold a license recognized by the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers basically show their license. SENATOR KELLY asked if there was such a thing as a manicuring license right now? REPRESENTATIVE BRICE answered no. SENATOR TORGERSON said it didn't sound to him like it was a grandfathering; it sounded like they had 180 days to get show that you have the hours. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE replied that if you practice 350 hours, then you are eligible to take the test. SENATOR TORGERSON asked how you can prove you've worked the hours. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE answered that a pay stub might be one way and that's why they also have testing. The Board is going to have to decide what level of evidence is adequate. SENATOR TORGERSON asked if people who already have a hairdressing and manicure license will have to be licensed again. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE replied that they could have a five or six month waiting period. SENATOR TORGERSON said he would prefer language that says the current license would be in effect until the new one is issued. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE agreed that was a good idea. SENATOR KELLY said he thought it was a good idea to learn about sanitation and health, but he also didn't want this to develop into something where someone has to get a student loan to get enrolled in cosmetology school for six months. He said he agreed with the substance of the bill and said they would work on it and bring it before the committee next week. SENATOR KELLY adjourned the meeting at 3:38 p.m.