Legislature(1997 - 1998)
03/21/1997 03:19 PM L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 137 - BOARD OF VETERINARY EXAMINERS; LICENSE Number 2102 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the next order of business would be HB 137, "An Act relating to veterinarians; extending the termination date of the Board of Veterinary Examiners; and providing for an effective date." He asked Mr. Welker to come forward and explain the bill. Number 2125 RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor, Legislative Audit Division came before the committee. He said HB 137 works on two sections of statute. The first relates to the extension date of 2003. He indicated he expects the committee to amend that for consistency. The second section of the bill addresses concerns raised on credentialing. Mr. Welker said the language in HB 137 needs some work. He said in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee they found out that there were more intricacies in credentialing. Mr. Welker said, "We're at the decision point now of making a policy call of elevating the standards and the tests that we require of applicants for credentialing. As it sits now in statute, it is a very difficult match of requirements in the state you were licensed in equal to requirements in this state at the time you are licensed. So it's a very difficult process of matching up requirements. The board is headed more towards the requirement of passage of national examinations for continued competency type of tests. I don't have any problem with that. There is some language that is being worked on. I don't know whether it has gotten to you, Mr. Chairman, yet, but there is probably some preferable language for substituting in this section that would better address, I think, the needs of credential applicants and also the concerns of the board." Number 2229 PAM TUOMI, Member, Alaska State Veterinary and Medical Association, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. She said she found the wording relating accrediting awkward. The members of the Anchorage veterinary community that she has spoke with have all expressed concern about the elimination of requirements for graduation from an accredited school of veterinary medicine. She said they are sympathetic with the need to make the process more uniform and to recognize the use of the national board's examinations. She said they feel that the wording in the present Senate bill is considerably simpler and addresses the credentialing problem as well as cleaning up (indisc.) in the basic license provisions. Dr. Tuomi explained a Veterinary Medical Association meeting is scheduled for the following Tuesday. She said they are hoping to poll those members and give further testimony at a later date. Dr. Tuomi said, "We should continue to include the requirement for graduation from a school of veterinary medicine. Entirely conceivable, a good academic student might be able to get sufficient information from (indisc.) medical classes and reading old tests and other information to pass the national board exam, but accredited schools of veterinary medicine add the requirement that those individuals will have had clinical experience and actually had an opportunity to do surgery and medicine under supervision. Eliminating that requirement might mean that someone could simply have book knowledge would be allowed to have a license." Number 2410 DEANNA THORNELL, Veterinarian, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks. She said she agrees that the Senate bill is much better, but there are also some flaws in it. Dr. Thornell said she agrees that all veterinarians should graduate from an accredited veterinary school. That process needs to be kept intact and we shouldn't step backwards in our qualifications. She discussed the difficulties with researching a person's credentials that had graduated in the 1960s. TAPE 97-26, SIDE B Number 025 DR. THORNELL explained the National Examination Committee is actually trying to design clinical competency tests that are species specific and they should be available by the year 2000. Dr. Thornell said, "We were feeling that the people that come in here with credentials should graduate from an accredited school, pass the NVE and also pass (indisc.) competency test on top of having some kind of clinical experience or (indisc.) years for credentials." DR. THORNELL referred to page 3, line 3, of the Senate's version of the bill, "Pass a written examination of the state," and said they need to take the state exam. She said she was hoping that they would be required to have taken NVE, CVT and have practiced for the last five or seven years. There will be a few people who have not taken the clinical competency test who graduated prior to 1981. She indicated she would be more than willing to work with the committee on the bill. Number 137 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the bill would impact temporary licenses for veterinarians who come to Alaska for the Iditarod for the Yukon Quest. DR. THORNELL said it won't. These are courtesy licenses. The organizer of the race usually handles the lists of the veterinarians that they have coming up. She said they are required to have a current license in another state or in Canada and that they haven't any disciplinary actions against them. Number 166 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked how a veterinarian can practice in Alaska if they are from Washington. DR. THORNELL explained they would get a courtesy license. She said the reason they came up with the courtesy licenses is because of the Exxon oil spill. There were veterinarians coming into the state that were high priced and really weren't qualified and they had a lot of disciplinary action in other states. She noted there weren't a lot. There were very good qualified people that also came. DR. THORNELL said, "If you (indisc.) outside and want to come up and come to one of the races, it's pretty easy not to go ahead and get one of the courtesy licenses. (Indisc.) know that you're not any disciplinary action and we'll allow you to come up here and work. If you want to actually come up and practice in the state of Alaska and you've practiced in the state of Montana for 20 years, this is the credentials we're looking at in this particular House bill. In the past, the wording was so confusing. If you were in Montana and graduated from veterinary school back in 1970, our statutes stated that we had to go back to 1970, look up what our state regulations were on licensing veterinarians at that time and then that's how you got in. It's whatever the state required at that time. The problem is nobody put it on record, what 1970 (indisc.) are and the archives are having a difficult time looking it up. So it's very difficult to answer folks that are calling up here for credentials exactly what they have to do before they get up here. So what we're trying to do is make it very simple and easy and just say have your NVE scores, which everybody has passed if they are already practicing in another state. If you graduated from a veterinary school, that's very important. Once again, everybody should have done is pass the clinical competency test which everyone is required now from here on out, will be required from veterinary schools to take, and also have practiced in the last five or seven years." Number 319 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG informed Dr. Thornell that he was reading the statute and didn't see anything regarding the courtesy license. He asked if it is in regulation. Number 342 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce and Economic Development, came before the committee. She explained the centralized licensing statute says that boards may set up systems for courtesy licenses if they choose to, by regulation, and this board has. She noted other boards may not have chosen to set up curtesy licensing systems. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said there is temporary permit provision currently in statute that is different. DR. THORNELL explained a temporary permit is designed for someone that is coming out of school, hasn't taken a national board exam, are waiting to take our state exam and they have employment here. She noted the state exam is only offered twice a year, so it's very difficult for them to wait six months before they start work. If they have a veterinarian that's going to employ them, the temporary permit will allow them work until the next test is available for them to take. That's mainly designed for graduating students just out of school where they have a way to practice until the exam is given. CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Dr. Tuomi and Dr. Thornell to provide some written comments, particularly relating to CSSB 92. He closed the public hearing and said it is not the intention of the Chair to move HB 137 at this time.