Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106
02/24/2005 03:00 PM HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES
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SB 42-NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE TASK FORCE 3:21:05 PM CHAIR WILSON announced that the next order of business would be SENATE BILL NO. 42 "An Act extending the reporting date for and the termination date of the Task Force on Naturopathic Scope of Practice; and providing for an effective date." JOE MICHEL, Staff to Senator Ralph Seekins, Alaska State Legislature, presented the sponsor statement for SB 42 on behalf of Senator Seekins, and stated that this bill extends the reporting date for the termination and [progress] report from the naturopathic task force. He explained: [Senate Bill 42] is an extension of [Senate Bill 306] which was a product of the Twenty-Third Alaska State Legislature ... and established a task force to study the scope of practice of naturopathic medicine. By statute, the task force was charged with addressing the following six things: the comparable level of education and training of naturopaths and medical doctors, the appropriate scope of practice relating to the use of legend or prescription drugs by naturopaths, the appropriate scope of practice for non-pharmacological treatments by naturopaths including minor surgeries, the structure and operations of collaborative protocols and agreements, issues relating to joint liability between collaborating practitioners and any other issues determined to be relevant by the members of the naturopathic task force. The task force was to have nine members ... and we've met four times ... since the task force has been formed. It was to be comprised of one Alaska state senator, one Alaska state representative, a member of the Alaska State Medical Association, a member of the Alaska Pharmacists Association, a member of the Alaska State Medical Board, a member representing nurse practitioners, an employee of the Department of Community and Economic Development (Division of Occupational Licensing) and two members who are licensed to practice naturopathic medicine in the state of Alaska. The task force was unable to complete it's business within the time parameter specified in SB 306, consequently, SB 42 extends the task force's charge into 2005. SB 42 is identical to the previous bill, SB 306, except for the report and termination dates have been changed to December 1, 2005 and February 1, 2006, respectively. 3:24:03 PM REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER inquired as to the definition of the word "legend" on page 1, line 11 of SB 42. MR. MICHEL stated that the word correlates with prescription drugs and the different levels of prescription drugs that are allowed. REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER questioned how "legend" differs in meaning from the prescription drugs. MR. MICHEL said that he did not know. REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER inquired as to the task force committee meeting schedule. MR. MICHEL stated the task force was not officially formed until late November of last year. He said that the task force met once before the New Year, and three times in Juneau via teleconference. 3:25:49 PM WAYNE ADERHOLD stated that he urges the passing of SB 42 and extension of the naturopathic task force for the benefit of constituents. He said that the naturopathic task force recently submitted a reasonable proposal for dealing with prescriptive rights and Senator Seekins is facilitating careful and complete examinations of all pertinent issues. He said: I, and a growing number of Alaskans, rely on naturopathic physicians for a large and increasing portion of my health care ... they clearly adhere to the foundation of medicine ... there is a lot at stake for the Alaskan consumers on the outcome of this task force and the resulting legislation. I can document a number of incidents over the past few years where the provisions of the proposed changes and privileges for naturopathic physicians would have benefited me directly, both from a health care and an economic standpoint. Please do not lose sight of the fact that this is largely a consumer issue. REPRESENTATIVE SEATON commented that he supports extending the timelines for the task force. CHAIR WILSON said that she supports giving the task force more time. She mentioned that there is a zero fiscal note attached to SB 42. REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA stated that she remembered hearing how necessary a task force was in the past, and that it seems as though [SB 42] should be given a chance. 3:29:01 PM REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to report SB 42 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying "zero" fiscal note. There being no objection, SB 42 was reported from the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee.