Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/21/1997 03:19 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 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.                                                     
                                                                               

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