Legislature(2003 - 2004)

2004-02-05 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2004-02-05                     House Journal                      Page 2510
HB 440                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 440 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                       
the Governor, entitled:                                                                             
     "An Act relating to the Alaska Pioneers' Home, and the Alaska                                  
     Veterans' Home; relating to eligibility for admission to the Alaska                            
     Pioneers' Home and Alaska Veterans' Home; relating to state                                    
     veterans' home facilities; making conforming amendments; and                                   
     providing for an effective date."                                                              

2004-02-05                     House Journal                      Page 2511
was read the first time and referred to the House Special Committee on                              
Military & Veterans' Affairs and the Health, Education & Social                                     
Services and Finance Committees.                                                                    
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                 
1.  Fiscal, Dept. of Health & Social Services                                                       
The Governor's transmittal letter dated February 4, 2004, follows:                                  
"Dear Speaker Kott:                                                                                 
Under the authority of article III, section 18, of the Alaska                                       
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to the Alaska Pioneers'                             
Home (APH) and Alaska Veterans' Home (AVH).                                                         
The purpose of the bill is two-fold: to authorize the establishment of                              
an AVH under the umbrella of our existing APH system and to                                         
provide long-term financial stability for both our AVH and APH                                      
For over a decade, the State of Alaska has struggled to develop a                                   
viable plan for an AVH.  The time has come to move beyond planning                                  
to make an AVH a reality.  With passage of this bill, the state would                               
have clear statutory authority to serve veterans within the APH system                              
by identifying one or more homes as an AVH consistent with the                                      
requirements of the United States Veterans' Administration.                                         
In addition, the bill would require that, as a condition for receipt of                             
assistance to pay the cost of care in a home, a home resident could be                              
required to apply for other state or federally sponsored programs                                   
whose benefits could reduce the amount of that assistance.                                          
Taken together, these changes are designed to ensure the sustainability                             
of the APH and AVH system over the long-term.  Additional federal                                   
and other third-party payments are critical in order to maintain the                                
high quality of care the homes provide and home residents expect and                                
deserve.  Over time, the Department of Health and Social Services is                                
optimistic that several millions of dollars of additional resources can                             
be obtained in third-party reimbursements annually to support                                       
operation of the homes.                                                                             

2004-02-05                     House Journal                      Page 2512
In the absence of additional third-party receipts, the APH and the                                  
AVH would remain unduly dependent on state general fund support                                     
and resident fees.  Given the state's ongoing fiscal constraints and the                            
impracticality of requiring home residents to pay for the full cost of                              
care, failure to adopt the measures included in this bill may well                                  
jeopardize the APH and AVH over the long term.                                                      
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                            
                                Sincerely yours,                                                    
                                Frank H. Murkowski