Legislature(2005 - 2006)

02/28/2006 04:05 PM HES


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HB 271-LIMIT OVERTIME FOR REGISTERED NURSES                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:35:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  271, "An Act relating to  limitations on overtime                                                               
for registered  nurses in health  care facilities;  and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  described the two  subcommittee meetings  that were                                                               
held, resulting in the new version  of the bill.  She pointed out                                                               
that  the  Governor's budget  includes  funding  to increase  the                                                               
state  employed  nurses  wages, providing  a  market  competitive                                                               
compensation.   During  the second  meeting of  the subcommittee,                                                               
she  reported, nurses  from New  Jersey,  Oregon, and  Washington                                                               
responded to  inquiries regarding  the recently  implemented bans                                                               
on  mandatory overtime  in  their  states, and  how  it has  been                                                               
working  for them.   She  explained that  these states  have each                                                               
implemented  a  system   which  requires  a  nurse   to  lodge  a                                                               
complaint,  thus instigating  an  investigation  to identify  and                                                               
deal  with  a  possible  overtime infraction.    The  nurses  who                                                               
testified,  unanimously affirmed  that  this  system works  well;                                                               
however, there is  no data available to back  up their testimony,                                                               
and the hospitals contacted did not offer comment.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  delineated the specific changes  that the concerned                                                               
"stakeholders" agreed  to in  the bill:   the penalty  aspect was                                                               
removed,  facilities will  not incur  a penalty  should they  use                                                               
mandatory  overtime; the  bill  excludes  Certified Nurses  Aides                                                               
(CNAs), critical access hospitals are  included in the bill; each                                                               
facility  is   required  to  provide  a   semiannual  report  [to                                                               
Department of Health and Social  Services] showing monthly totals                                                               
of mandatory  overtime hours,  voluntary overtime  hours, on-call                                                               
hours,  and contract  nurses hours;  and the  state nursing  wage                                                               
will  be  increased  in  the  2007  budget.    She  stressed  the                                                               
importance for  having the  data reported,  and explained  how it                                                               
will be  crucial for future  analysis and planning.   In response                                                               
to  a question,  she explained  that the  CNAs were  excluded, as                                                               
they are not affected by the mandatory overtime issue.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
4:43:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON  moved to  adopt  CSHB  271, Version  24-LS0j838\P,                                                               
Bullock,  2/23/06,  as the  working  document.   There  being  no                                                               
objection, Version P was before the committee.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
4:44:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN BITNEY,  Lobbyist, Alaska  Nurses Association  (ANA), stated                                                               
support  for   Version  P,  as   a  reasonable   compromise  that                                                               
establishes  a policy  to allow  nurses  to say  "no" to  working                                                               
overtime   without  fear   of  retribution,   and  the   language                                                               
acknowledges  and respects  a nurses'  professional standard  for                                                               
responsive patient care.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:46:00 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR WILSON  directed the committee's  attention to  the written                                                               
testimony provided  by Rod Betit,  President of the  Alaska State                                                               
Hospital & Nursing Home Association  (ASHNHA), and suggested that                                                               
they take a moment to review its contents.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 4:46:47 PM to 4:47:13 PM.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
[The  committee  returned  attention  to  HB  271  later  in  the                                                               
hearing.]                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:47:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
HB 271-LIMIT OVERTIME FOR REGISTERED NURSES                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON returned  the committee's  attention to  HOUSE BILL                                                               
NO.  271,  "An  Act  relating  to  limitations  on  overtime  for                                                               
registered nurses  in health care  facilities; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:51:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LAURIE  HERMAN,  Regional  Director, Government  Affairs,  Alaska                                                               
State Hospital and Nursing  Home Association (ASHNHA), Providence                                                               
Alaska Medical  Center, stated support  for CSHB 271,  Version P,                                                               
save opposition  for Section 18.09.010,  which provides  that the                                                               
nurse  will  be  the  sole  determiner  of  whether  overtime  is                                                               
appropriate, thus removing management from the process.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:52:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER asked why it  would not be appropriate for                                                               
the individual  to decide whether  they could safely  continue to                                                               
work.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
LAURIE  HERMAN  explained  that  the  nurse  makes  the  decision                                                               
whether  the  overtime  was  mandatory   or  voluntary,  for  the                                                               
purposes of filling out the monthly overtime report.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON clarified  that the  reports are  generated by  the                                                               
hospitals, and  it will be  apparent to the  individuals involved                                                               
whether  the overtime  was  mandatory or  voluntary.   She  said,                                                               
"That's the reality of what started the bill to begin with."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:53:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARDNER moved  to  report CSHB  271, Version  24-                                                               
LS0838\P,  Bullock, 2/23/06,  as amended,  out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being no  objection, CSHB 271(HES) was reported  out of the                                                               
House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:54:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                

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