Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/18/1997 01:34 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
        SB  90 DENTISTS: LICENSING & EXTEND EXAMINING BD                      
   MS. CATHERINE REARDON,  Director, Division of Occupational                 
 Licensing, said the bill before the Committee is the extension of             
 the termination date of the Board of Dental Examiners to the year             
 2003 (matching the audit), although the Committee has expressed               
 interest in having four year extension dates instead.  Section two            
 also reflects an audit suggestion to increase the number of public            
 members to two from one.  Presently it is a nine member board, one            
 public member, two dental hygienists, and six dentists.  This bill            
 would reduce it to five dentists, two public members, and two                 
 dental hygienists.  Section five has transition language.  Section            
 three removes the requirement that a photograph be submitted with             
 the application.  Section four puts flexibility into statute in               
 terms of licensure by credentials although they were told a few               
 years ago they didn't have statutory authority to give them                   
 flexibility.  Current statute says that requirements in our State             
 have to match the requirements in the state the person is coming              
 from.  What usually arises with dentistry is that not all states              
 offer the same dental exam.  She said we use the Western Region               
 Exam.  The subject matter that tends to come up is endodontics                
 which has to do with gums and root canals.  So California, for                
 instance, doesn't test on endodontics and we do.  The problem has             
 been that people coming in from those states can't say that their             
 state had licensing requirements that were generally equivalent to            
 this state.  She thought Legislative Audit's language means to say            
 if you are dismissing part of the test, if the Board doesn't                  
 believe the licensing requirements are equivalent in the other                
 jurisdiction because certain subject matter is not included in the            
 other tests, there are other ways of making it up.  One could do              
 some continuing education, in endodontics, for instance.                      
 Her opinion is that however it is resolved, either by statute or              
 regulation, it would be to the benefit of Alaska if there were a              
 way to test people coming into Alaska without them having to face             
 entirely retaking their Boards which is very challenging 10 years             
 out of dentist school.                                                        
 Number 220                                                                    
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved on page 1, line 5 to delete "2003" and insert          
 "2001."  There were no objections and it was so adopted.                      
 SENATOR MACKIE asked for the rationale for going to five members              
 versus six and two versus one for the public members.  MS. REARDON            
 explained that it was the desire to have two public members instead           
 of one which meant reducing the number of dentists to keep the nine           
 member board.                                                                 
  DR. ARNESON  said the only problem he has with the five versus six           
 dentist members is that the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)           
 requires dentists' and hygienists' input when they do tests - up to           
 16 or more per year and they pay the bill.  They have to go down as           
 providers to the tests two or three times per year.  To make sure             
 Alaska is represented it would be nice to have a dentist go to each           
 test.  Having one less dentist would make it difficult to have                
 input.  It is a big time commitment, but it is an important part of           
 their involvement as examiners.                                               
 MS. REARDON elaborated that Alaska is part of the Western Region              
 Examining Board consortium; there are other consortiums.  We don't            
 offer the dental exam in Alaska because we have no dental schools             
 and the Board expects its different member states to help with the            
 development and administration of the exam.                                   
  MR. RANDY WELKER,  Legislative Auditor, explained that the reason            
 they suggested adding a public member is because it is a large                
 board and they have always promoted the concept of having a public            
 disinterested member on the board.  On this particular board he saw           
 high absenteeism by the public member and felt it could support two           
 public members.  He said there has been a lot of controversy with             
 the Dental Board and he thought that public representation is                 
 critical.  He didn't see a problem with the swap and it's his                 
 policy approach when public members are added not to not increase             
 the overall size of the board.  In the past they felt the public's            
 representation hadn't been there.                                             
 SENATOR MACKIE asked when that would take effect.  MR. WELKER said            
 there is a transitional provision replacing the next vacancy on the           
 Board in a dental position.  So it doesn't require the removal of             
 a member.                                                                     
 SENATOR MACKIE asked if it would affect any current nominees.  MR.            
 WELKER replied no because the effective date is July 1, 1997.                 
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN said he was concerned if the Administration has not            
 filled the existing public member position.  The absenteeism                  
 argument rings hollow for him until that public member is replaced.           
 MS. REARDON responded that the Governor's Office is attempting to             
 fill vacancies as quickly as able.                                            
 Number 380                                                                    
 DR. ARNESON responded that the lady they had was a really                     
 thoughtful and useful board member when she was there, but it was             
 easy for her to not be present and she resigned in December before            
 her term was up.  His concern was that the public members were not            
 as interested in dental issues as the professionals.  This is why             
 he would like to maintain the six dentist members.  He thought they           
 could find dentists with diverse views.                                       
 MS. REARDON commented that many boards do have two public members.            
 She hasn't had a problem with filling the WREB trip Outside at this           
 point.  MR. ARNESON replied that's because of people like him who             
 make three trips a year on top of their Board meetings.  MS.                  
 REARDON acknowledged that was true.                                           
 SENATOR MACKIE said he would like to know from the Administration             
 why they haven't appointed someone to the one public member seat              
 that's there now and he'd like to hear whether is significant                 
 interest from the public, because he didn't want to end up with two           
 vacant seats.                                                                 
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN directed Ms. Reardon to get an answer from the                 
 Governor's Office regarding when the public seat would be filled.             
 He set aside SB 90 until her return.                                          
 Number 410                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  said next they would take up the Board of Physical           
 Therapy and Occupational Therapy.                                             
  DR. LARRY SEETHALER,  a reappointment, said he was a 20-year                 
 resident of Alaska and has practiced physical therapy the whole               
 time he has been here.  He said he would be willing to serve a                
 second term and is the current chairman.  He thought his services             
 would be useful in the protection of the public with issues of                
 competency, licensing, and evaluating physical therapists for                 
 There were no questions from the Committee.                                   
 MR. SEETHALER said that Ms. Berline has served at only one meeting            
 so far and seems competent and has good input.                                
  SENATOR KELLY  said that she was his neighbor for 10 years and he            
 would recommend her.                                                          
 DR. SEETHALER said that Dr. Keller has served the same time he has            
 and has been a real asset to the Board and indicated he would be              
 willing to serve a second term.                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanked everyone for their comments and said their             
 confirmations would be taken up in a joint session of the                     
 legislature within the next two months.                                       
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  announced  SB 90  to be back before the Committee.  H        
 informed them that Ann McCoy resigned on December 2, 1996.                    
  MS. REARDON  confirmed that and said she was an appointee from the           
 previous administration and reported that Ms. Cindy Smith, Boards             
 and Commissions, said she had two people under consideration for              
 public seats.  MS. REARDON explained that people don't necessarily            
 apply to be public members on a specific board, they generally                
 apply to be public members.                                                   
 SENATOR KELLY said that over the years he has come to distrust the            
 public board membership stuff, anyway.  The idea that someone is              
 supposed to represent the public who knows nothing about the                  
 particular occupation or industry doesn't make a lot of sense to              
 him, he said.  SENATOR MILLER agreed with Senator Kelly.                      
  SENATOR MILLER  moved to delete sections 2 and 5 and anything that           
 deals with the additional board member.  There were no objections             
 and it was so adopted.                                                        
  MS. ANNETTE KREITZER,  Staff to Senator Leman, said the next                 
 amendment parallels some of the language that is found in medical             
 statutes under 08.64.326 (8)a and speaks to the Board not basing a            
 finding of failing to conform to professional standards of                    
 dentistry solely on the grounds that the dentist practices                    
 unconventional or experimental dentistry and adds sections 6 and 7.           
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  said he understood this to be consistent with Title          
 8 regarding doctors and he asked if the Board now brings                      
 disciplinary action against dentists who espouse unconventional               
 practices with the replacement of mercury fillings.  MS. REARDON              
 said she researched this last year and at that time the Board had             
 never charged anyone with incompetence based on replacing mercury             
 SENATOR KELLY assured them that this was a controversial issue in             
 past sessions.                                                                
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN announced that the Committee would hold the bill               
 over with the pending amendment until the next meeting and                    
 adjourned the meeting at 2:45 p.m.                                            

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