Legislature(1997 - 1998)
02/20/1997 01:34 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 February 20, 1997 1:34 MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Loren Leman, Chairman Senator Jerry Mackie, Vice Chairman Senator Tim Kelly MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Mike Miller Senator Lyman Hoffman COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 65 "An Act relating to domestic animals, to food, and to the Alaska Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; and providing for an effective date." -SCHEDULED, BUT NOT HEARD CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 41(L&C) "An Act relating to impairment rating guides used in evaluation of certain workers' compensation claims." -MOVED HB 41 OUT OF COMMITTEE PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 65 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/13/97. HB 41 - No previous action to record. WITNESS REGISTER Ms. Janet Seitz, Staff Representative Norman Rokeberg State Capitol Bldg. Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Staff to sponsor of HB 41. Mr. Paul Grossi, Director Division of Workers Compensation Department of Labor P.O. Box 25512 Juneau, AK 99802-5512 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 41. Mr. Garrey Peska Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA) 219 Seward St. Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 41. Mr. Dwight Perkins, Special Assistant Department of Labor P.O. Box 21149 Juneau, AK 99802-1149 POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on HB 41. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 97-7, SIDE A Number 001 HB 41 IMPAIRMENT RATING GUIDES FOR WORKERS COMP CHAIRMAN LEMAN called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee meeting to order at 1:34 p.m. and announced HB 41 to be up for consideration. MS. JANET SEITZ, Staff to Representative Rokeberg, sponsor, explained that this legislation is necessary because now under the regulations procedure it can take a long time for the newest version of the guides to be adopted for use by the Worker's Comp Board. For example, until April of last year they were using a 1988 guide when the 1993 guide had already been published. She said Representative Rokeberg thinks the process to get the regulations in place is prohibitive and the new guides are valuable because of new medical technology and diagnostic procedures. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked how often the book comes out. MS. SEITZ responded that there is no set time. SENATOR KELLY asked if they used to have to adopt the guides by statute. MS. SEITZ deferred to Mr. Paul Grossi, Director, Workers Compensation. MR. GROSSI explained that HB 41 allows them to adopt the most recent version of the AMA Guides without going through the regulatory process which is currently what they have to do. Number 81 MR. GARREY PESKA, ASHNHA, supported HB 41 because it clarifies the process by which the guidelines will be adopted. SENATOR KELLY asked the difference between the CS and the original bill on the House side. MR. GROSSI replied that the CS establishes a specific date for the most recent guide to go into effect. There was the fear of litigation regarding which guide would actually be in effect during the 90-day period. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asked if the Board was able to pick a date that is immediate in terms of the implementation. MR. GROSSI replied that the Board would try to give enough notice to everybody to allow the various parties to purchase the newest guide and get set up. SENATOR KELLY said it appears we are throwing ourselves on the mercy of the AMA and he wasn't sure that was a wise thing to do, but he didn't think he would be against it. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said he thought we had already done that by adopting previous statutes. SENATOR KELLY responded that if the Board can delay taking new guidelines for years and years, then they hadn't done it. MR. DWIGHT PERKINS, Department of Labor, said he thought that it was something that just didn't get done and it was seen by the new administration as something that needed to be addressed as soon as possible. SENATOR KELLY asked who was the last commissioner. MR. PERKINS replied Commissioner Mahlen. SENATOR MACKIE moved to pass HB 41 from committee with individual recommendations. There were no objections and it was so ordered. CHAIRMAN LEMAN said they would not take up SB 65 today and are working on some challenging amendments. CHAIRMAN LEMAN adjourned the meeting at 1:45 p.m.