Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/22/1997 09:15 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Senate Bill 96                                                               
     "An Act regulating hospice care."                                         
BENJAMIN BROWN, STAFF,  SENATOR TIM KELLY, spoke in  support of the            
legislation.  He observed  that the legislation  was introduced  by            
the Senate  Rules Committee in response  to a request  from Hospice            
of Anchorage.  Mr. Brown  noted that  the legislation  would  add a            
new chapter  to Title  18 of  Alaska Statutes  and would allow  the            
Department of  Health and Social  Services to regulate  and license            
hospice  programs; currently,  there were  no federal  requirements            
for  hospice programs.  He added  that  there were  40 states  that            
licensed hospice programs.                                                     
Mr.  Brown  detailed  that  the  need  for  hospice  licensing  was            
brought  to  Senator  Kelly's  attention  as  chair  of  the  Rules            
Committee by  a constituent on the  board of Hospice of  Anchorage,            
the largest  and  most formally  organized hospice  program in  the            
state.  Other hospice  programs  around the  state  were either  in            
support of  the bill or  not in objection.  He emphasized  that the            
advantage  of  licensing  hospice   programs  before  any  problems            
occurred  was  illustrated  by the  licensing  of  assisted  living            
homes; prior to licensing,  there had been an abusive  situation in            
Mr. Brown  informed the  committee that  Article 1 would  establish            
parameters  for   licensing  hospice  programs  that   were  formal            
businesses.  Article  2 would  establish  standards  for  volunteer            
hospice  programs. Article  3 would  define terms  in the bill  and            
provide penalties for violations of the statute.                               
In response  to a  question by  Senator Adams,  Mr. Brown  observed            
that the sponsor  and hospice programs supported an  amendment that            
would grant  limited immunity  to volunteers  working in  volunteer            
Senator  Pearce  MOVED to  ADOPT  Amendment  1, which  would  grant            
limited immunity to volunteers working in volunteer programs.                  
in  support  of the  legislation.  He stressed  the  importance  of            
hospice organization and standards.                                            
Mr.  Brown clarified  that  the legislation  was  supported by  the            
Alaska  State  Hospital/Nursing   Homes  Association  (ASHNHA).  He            
noted  that part  of the  potential problem  of  hospice not  being            
regulated was  presented by the growth  of managed care  and by the            
provision of hospice  programs within existing medical  facilities;            
a  large,  medical,  for-profit  institution  trying to  cut  costs            
could  offer a program  called  hospice that  consisted of  nothing            
but pain management.                                                           
HEALTH AND  SOCIAL SERVICES,  noted that  the department  supported            
the bill and the amendment.                                                    
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 1 was adopted.                             
Senate Adams  MOVED to REPORT CSSB  96 (FIN) out of committee  with            
individual  recommendations   and  the  accompanying  fiscal  note.            
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                   
CSSB  96 (FIN)  was REPORTED  out  of committee  with  a "do  pass"            
recommendation  and with  a previously published  fiscal note  from            
the Department of Health and Social Services.                                  

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