Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/20/1993 09:02 AM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
  SENATOR  RANDY PHILLIPS introduced  SB 189 (COMMUNITY HEALTH                 
  AIDE GRANTS) as the first order of business                                  
                                                                               
  MYRA MUNSON,  representing the  Alaska Native  Health Board,                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  explained SB 189  is a very  technical bill that will  solve                 
  the problem with  the community  health aide training  grant                 
  program.  Community health  aides make up the core  of rural                 
  health care delivery  throughout Alaska.   All of the  money                 
  for their salaries comes  from federal appropriation through                 
  the Indian Health Service.                                                   
                                                                               
  The  state  provides  a  small   grant  program  (less  than                 
  $700,000) to support training and  supervision of the health                 
  aides.  When  the program was  created in 1985, it  provided                 
  that to be eligible to receive the funds an organization had                 
  to exist in 1984 and employ health  aides.  Last year, after                 
  the  East  Aleutian Borough  formed,  a new  regional health                 
  organization formed to serve that  borough area, and because                 
  this organization did not exist in 1984, it was not eligible                 
  to receive training funds from the state.                                    
                                                                               
  SB 189  permits new  regional organizations to  come in  and                 
  provide  services.    The legislation  does  not  change the                 
  funding  formula in any way; it is still based on the number                 
  of health aides who were in the program in 1984.                             
                                                                               
  Ms. Munson said the legislation is  a very high priority for                 
  people in the Aleutian-Priboloff region.  Without passage of                 
  the bill, those programs run the  risk of having one program                 
  with no funding or  the two programs having less  than their                 
  share  of the total funding.  She  urged swift passage of SB
  189.                                                                         
                                                                               
  Number 092                                                                   
                                                                               
  LARRY  STEVENS,  aide  to  Senator  George  Jacko,  said  he                 
  personally became  aware of  this problem  the past  interim                 
  during  a  meeting   with  the  Aleutian-Priboloff   Islands                 
  Association.   Concern was expressed that  if a solution was                 
  not found  in  the near  term,  they would  not  be able  to                 
  continue on the basis  which they had mutually agreed  to to                 
  accommodate the change in the situation.                                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Stevens voiced  Senator Jacko's  support for passage  of                 
  the legislation.                                                             
                                                                               
  Number 110                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR  RANDY PHILLIPS  referred to  page  2, line  10, and                 
  asked how the rural area of at least 4,000  square miles was                 
  determined.  MYRA  MUNSON responded that the  4,000 miles is                 
  determined by land mass, and the East Aleutians Borough area                 
  served is just over 4,000 miles, so it will not create a new                 
  problem.   The land mass  area was put  into the law  in the                 
  first instance to encourage the efficiency of serving larger                 
  regions, so as not  to have every individual  village coming                 
  in and looking for grants.                                                   
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Number 130                                                                   
                                                                               
  DEBORAH  ERICKSON, Health  Program  Specialist, Division  of                 
  Public  Health, Department  of  Health and  Social Services,                 
  stated the department's support for SB 189, and she said the                 
  bill is just a technical change  and will not the change the                 
  nature or scope of the program.                                              
                                                                               
  Number 146                                                                   
                                                                               
  SENATOR LEMAN moved that  SB 189 be passed out  of committee                 
  with individual  recommendations.  Hearing no  objection, it                 
  was so ordered.                                                              

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