Legislature(2015 - 2016)BARNES 124
04/08/2015 03:15 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 178-WORKERS' COMP MEDICAL FEES; DELAY 4:21:22 PM CHAIR OLSON announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 178, "An Act relating to workers' compensation fees for medical treatment and services; providing for an effective date by amending the effective date of sec. 5, ch. 63, SLA 2014; and providing for an effective date." CHAIR OLSON reported that the initial bill last legislature, House Bill 316, passed the Twenty-Eighth Alaska State Legislature unanimously, except for those absent. 4:21:52 PM KONRAD JACKSON, Staff, Representative Kurt Olson, Alaska State Legislature, stated that HB 178 would offer a five-month extension to the time constraints set by House Bill 316 [Twenty- eighth legislature] for the creation of a new Workers' Compensation Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC) tasked with establishing a conversion factor and geographic differential to be used in conjunction with a basic fee schedule and a relative value unit methodology and implemented by regulation. He said this bill could be likened to a simple board extension with a zero fiscal note. Last year the legislature passed House Bill 316, which asked the Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC) to create a fee schedule based on Medicaid rates with a multiplier for various services. Once a conversion factor was set, the bill required the commissioner of Department of Labor & Workforce Development approve the multiplier and draft regulations, which the workers' compensation board would implement. The bill envisioned this work would be completed by July 1, 2015. The Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC) has met numerous times and is very close to completing its work, but does not anticipate completing its work by July 1, 2015. 4:23:08 PM CHAIR OLSON asked for the current Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC) membership. MR. JACKSON replied that the Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC) consists of nine members, as follows: (1) one member who is a member of the Alaska State Medical Association; (2) one member who is a member of the Alaska Chiropractic Society; (3) one member who is a member of the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association; (4) one member who is a health care provider, as defined in AS 09.55.560; (5) four public members who are not within the definition of "health care provider" in AS 09.55.560; and (6) one member who is the designee of the commissioner and who shall serve as chair. He stated that all of the stakeholders have a seat at the table in the discussion to set the conversion factors. He reported that the department requested the extension since the Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC) was very close to completing its work, but the July 1, 2015 completion date would not likely allow enough time to complete the regulatory process. The bill has a zero fiscal note since the costs were previously addressed in House Bill 316, which passed the legislature last year. CHAIR OLSON said that he has not attended any of the MSRC meetings, choosing to leave it to the Department of Labor & Workforce Development. 4:24:46 PM MICHAEL MONAGLE, Director, Central Office, Division of Workers' Compensation, Department of Labor & Workforce Development (DLWD), provided some background information on the Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC), which began meeting in July 2014. The committee was established by statute in 2005 and met for several years, making some recommendations in 2009. The MSRC somewhat faded from activity so when House Bill 316 passed last year, the committee was resurrected, including finding new committee members to develop a request for proposal (RFP) for subject matter expert contractor, obtain data from several data sources, including the National Council on Compensation Insurance and Fair Health, as well as to get approval for contracts and develop non-disclosure agreements. It took until November 2014 before the committee started its work. He described the committee's work thus far, including that the MSRC has held good discussions, but are still one conversion factor away from completing its work, with the next meeting scheduled for April 20, 2015. He anticipated that the last decision will be made soon. As previously mentioned, the MSRC must provide the commissioner with a written report, followed by public comment, and recommendations would then be forwarded to the workers' compensation board, who would notice a public meeting for 30 days. The Workers' Compensation Board would likely meet in June, propose regulations and allow 30 days for the public comment period. The board would adopt the regulations project, send it to the Department of Law for review and on to the Lieutenant Governor's office. He anticipated that the regulations will be in place by the end of summer, which will allow billers and payers three months to program their systems with the new conversion factors ready for the new CMS [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] rates that will be published on January 1, 2016. He expressed concern that the fee schedule will not be ready by July 1, 2015, which he described as a disastrous outcome. 4:28:06 PM CHAIR OLSON said one member of the Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC) remarked that he had initially been skeptical about the committee, but after first meetings he began to enjoy the process. He told members that he previously had contemplated that the Medical Services Review Committee (MSRC) could be on a tight schedule. CHAIR OLSON, after first determining no one wished to testify, closed public testimony on HB 178. 4:29:32 PM REPRESENTATIVE HUGHES moved to report HB 178 out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. There being no objection, HB 178 was reported from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee. 4:30:00 PM The committee took an at-ease from 4:30 p.m. to 4:32 p.m.