Legislature(2001 - 2002)
03/01/2001 03:03 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 91-ADD PHYSICIAN ASST TO STATE MEDICAL BOARD CHAIR DYSON announced that first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 91, "An Act relating to the membership and quorum requirements of the State Medical Board." Number 0090 REPRESENTATIVE HUGH FATE came forth as sponsor of HB 91. He stated to the committee: House Bill 91 is based on a request brought forward by the Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants. The Alaska State Medical Board supports House Bill 91. House Bill 91 adds one licensed physician assistant to the State Medical Board and changes the quorum for meetings, from four to five [members]. Currently, there is no representation of physical assistant licensees to the board, even though consideration of physician assistant licensure, regulations, and discipline are frequent topics. Physician assistants are also an increasingly significant factor in providing medical care. Participation of a physician assistant would strengthen and support the State Medical Board and contribute to its decision-making process by providing valuable opinions representing a wider spectrum of medical practitioners in Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked what the fiscal note amount would be. REPRESENTATIVE FATE answered that the fiscal note would be $3,000, which entails per diem and travel for members of that board. Number 0282 CHAIR DYSON asked if anyone has opposed, or will oppose, the bill. REPRESENTATIVE FATE responded that there is no opposition. He stated that the medical board licensure is for the bill and the medical association is neutral. CHAIR DYSON asked if it is reasonable to say that the folks in the medical community have had a fair opportunity to comment on the bill. REPRESENTATIVE FATE said that they have. He said that the State Medical Board, and the Physician Assistant Association have gone on record that they are in favor of the bill. He added that the physician assistants have been participating in an ad-hoc position on the medical board for the last four years for two reasons: to get themselves up to speed in order to familiarize themselves with the medical board, and to prove to the medical board that they can be part of that board in good conscious. Number 0409 REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA asked why it hasn't happened before, since it seems like such a good idea. REPRESENTATIVE FATE said that there has been friction between the medical board and an auxiliary of the healing profession. He said that he served on the Board of Dental Examiners when hygienists first appeared. He remarked that there was natural friction [at first], but then there was a real benefit. Number 0515 TOM WILSON, Physician Assistant, Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants, testified via teleconference in support of HB 91. He stated that there have been approximately 250 PAs (physical assistants) licensed in the state for more than 20 years, and they currently have no representation as licensees on the State Medical Board. He said that [PAs] see approximately 50,000 Alaskans every month for medical care. He added that the State Medical Board voted in Juneau on February 19, 2001, in favor of the addition of a physician assistant to the medical board. MR. WILSON expressed that this has been a very long process of over four years of having a PA attend every medical board meeting for the full two-day sessions. He stated that this year [the Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants] has decided that it has served its apprenticeship and understands the commitment and responsibilities of being a member of the State Medical Board. He said [PAs] feel that since they have matured and developed an extremely good relationship with the medical board [it is reasonable] to ask the state to change the statute and add a PA to the medical board. He concluded that he thinks the medical board is eager to have their input because they represent a large number of licensees as well as patients. Number 0663 CHAIR DYSON asked whether [PAs] practice under the supervision of a physician. MR. WILSON answered yes, that's by state law. He said it's the philosophy of a PA to work in a PA/MD team. By law, PAs cannot practice medicine unless they have a collaborative relationship with a physician. Number 0716 ED HALL, Physician Assistant, Alaska Academy of Physician Assistants, testified via teleconference in support of HB 91. Addressing the question of why it is happening now as opposed to 20 years ago, he remarked that this has been a growing process, and it has just been in the past year that [PAs] have felt they have done their apprenticeship and have the understanding as well as the full support of the medical board. Number 0766 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL made a motion to move HB 91 from the committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. There being no objection, HB 91 moved out of the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee.