Legislature(2021 - 2022)DAVIS 106

04/28/2022 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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Audio Topic
03:05:30 PM Start
03:06:41 PM SB132
04:51:35 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      HOUSE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                     
                         April 28, 2022                                                                                         
                           3:05 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Liz Snyder, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Zack Fields                                                                                                      
Representative Ken McCarty                                                                                                      
Representative Mike Prax                                                                                                        
Representative Christopher Kurka                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Tiffany Zulkosky, Co-Chair                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 132                                                                                                             
"An Act exempting veterinarians from the requirements of the                                                                    
controlled substance prescription database."                                                                                    
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 132                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONTROLLED SUB. DATA: EXEMPT VETERINARIAN                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) HOLLAND                                                                                                  
04/28/21       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/28/21       (S)       HSS, L&C                                                                                               
02/03/22       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/03/22       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/03/22       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
02/08/22       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/08/22       (S)       Moved SB 132 Out of Committee                                                                          
02/08/22       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
02/09/22       (S)       HSS RPT  4DP                                                                                           
02/09/22       (S)       DP: WILSON, REINBOLD, BEGICH, HUGHES                                                                   
02/23/22       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/23/22       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/23/22       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/02/22       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/02/22       (S)       Moved SB 132 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/02/22       (S)       MINUTE(L&C)                                                                                            
03/04/22       (S)       L&C RPT  2NR 1DP                                                                                       
03/04/22       (S)       NR: COSTELLO, REVAK                                                                                    
03/04/22       (S)       DP: GRAY-JACKSON                                                                                       
03/04/22       (S)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER L&C                                                                           
03/17/22       (S)       FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
03/17/22       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/17/22       (S)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/22/22       (S)       FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
03/22/22       (S)       Moved SB 132 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/22/22       (S)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/23/22       (S)       FIN RPT  7DP                                                                                           
03/23/22       (S)       DP: STEDMAN, BISHOP, HOFFMAN, WILSON,                                                                  
                         WIELECHOWSKI, OLSON, VON IMHOF                                                                         
03/28/22       (S)       TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                                                                     
03/28/22       (S)       VERSION: SB 132                                                                                        
04/04/22       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/04/22       (H)       HSS, L&C                                                                                               
04/14/22       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM DAVIS 106                                                                               
04/14/22       (H)       Scheduled  but Not Heard                                                                               
04/19/22       (H)       HSS AT  3:00 PM DAVIS 106                                                                              
04/19/22       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/26/22       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM DAVIS 106                                                                               
04/26/22       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/26/22       (H)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
04/28/22       (H)       HSS AT 3:00 PM DAVIS 106                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
TRACY WARD, DVM, President                                                                                                      
Alaska State Veterinary Medical Association                                                                                     
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave a PowerPoint presentation during the                                                                
hearing on SB 132.                                                                                                              
HAL GEIGER, DVM, Member                                                                                                         
Board of Veterinary Examiners                                                                                                   
Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing                                                                   
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development (DCCED)                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Share in giving a PowerPoint presentation                                                                
during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                                                   
SARA CHAMBERS, Director                                                                                                         
Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing                                                                   
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information and answered questions                                                              
during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                                                   
LAURA CARRILLO, Executive Administrator                                                                                         
Alaska Board of Pharmacy                                                                                                        
Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing                                                                   
Department of Commerce, Community & Economic Development                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions during the hearing on SB
NELSON PRIDDY, DVM                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave invited testimony during the hearing                                                                
on SB 132.                                                                                                                      
JON BASLER, DVM, Medical Director/Owner                                                                                         
College Village Animal Clinic                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Gave invited testimony in support of SB
JUDITH MASTELLER, DVM, representing self                                                                                        
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                  
JUDY MONTALBANO                                                                                                                 
Alaska Veterinary Association                                                                                                   
North Pole, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 132.                                                                          
KRYSTAL TODD, Veterinarian Technician                                                                                           
North Pole Veterinary Hospital                                                                                                  
North Pole, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                  
DAWN BROWN, DVM, representing self                                                                                              
Salcha, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 132.                                                                          
DEBORAH MERSCH, DVM, Small Animal Veterinarian                                                                                  
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                  
PETER NICHOLSON, DVM, representing self                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                  
JAMES DELKER, DVM                                                                                                               
Alaska Veterinary Association                                                                                                   
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                  
SUZE NOLAN, Licensed Veterinary Technician, Manager                                                                             
North Pole Veterinary Hospital                                                                                                  
North Pole, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                  
MERCEDES PINTO, DVM, representing self                                                                                          
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 132.                                                                          
ALLI PEARMINE, Licensed Veterinary Technician, representing self                                                                
North Pole, Alaska                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified during the hearing on SB 132.                                                                  
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:05:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  SNYDER  called  the House  Health  and  Social  Services                                                            
Standing    Committee   meeting    to   order    at   3:05    p.m.                                                              
Representatives  Prax,  McCarty,  Spohnholz,  Fields,  and  Snyder                                                              
were present at  the call to order.  Representative  Kurka arrived                                                              
as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                                 
        SB 132-CONTROLLED SUB. DATA: EXEMPT VETERINARIAN                                                                    
3:06:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR SNYDER  announced that the  only order of  business would                                                              
be SENATE BILL  NO. 132, "An Act exempting veterinarians  from the                                                              
requirements of the controlled substance prescription database."                                                                
3:08:18 PM                                                                                                                    
TRACY  WARD,  DVM,  President,  Alaska  State  Veterinary  Medical                                                              
Association  (AKVMA),  addressing   SB  132,  began  a  PowerPoint                                                              
presentation, titled  "Why It Makes Sense to  Exempt Veterinarians                                                              
from  the  Prescription   Drug  Monitoring  Program"   [hard  copy                                                              
included in  the committee packet].   She told the  committee that                                                              
ASVMA  supports SB  132  [as stated  on slide  2].   She  directed                                                              
attention to an  overview of the history of the  Prescription Drug                                                              
Monitoring  Program  (PDMP) on  slide  3,  which read  as  follows                                                              
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     2008: Alaska's PDMP established by SB 196.                                                                                 
     2017: In reaction  to growing opioid epidemic,  the PDMP                                                                   
     was  amended by  via HB 159  to include  all DEA  permit                                                                   
     holders, including veterinarians.                                                                                          
     Neither  AKVMA nor  BOVE were  consulted regarding  this                                                                   
     PDMP  reporting is  required for  all actively  licensed                                                                   
     practitioners  who  hold  a   Federal  Drug  Enforcement                                                                   
     Agency   registration   number    and   who   prescribe,                                                                   
     administer, or dispense federally scheduled II  IV                                                                         
     controlled substances in the state.                                                                                        
DR. WARD  added that participating  in the PMDP requires  two main                                                              
duties:  querying  the system to examine the  controlled substance                                                              
prescription  history for  a patient  (both  humans and  animals);                                                              
and  entering  controlled  substance  prescriptions  made  by  the                                                              
practitioner.   She  argued  that  the PMDP  is  not an  effective                                                              
database for  veterinarians with reasons  given on slide  4, which                                                              
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     The PDMP  was established  for human medicine.  Querying                                                                   
     of PDMP data  for animals is not possible  with the PDMP                                                                   
     (and reported  drugs for  an animal  are not visible  in                                                                   
     the PDMP database).                                                                                                        
     A  query is  made on  the individual(s)  that bring  the                                                                   
     animal to the  veterinarian and human data  is obtained,                                                                   
     not animal data.                                                                                                           
     Human data  obtained from the  PDMP query is  not usable                                                                   
     for the veterinarian.  Veterinarians are not  trained in                                                                   
     human medicine to understand what the dosages mean.                                                                        
DR.  WARD emphasized  that  animals  lack any  unique  identifying                                                              
data,  and  because   veterinarians  are  not  trained   in  human                                                              
pharmacology, the  human data within  the PDMP cannot  be properly                                                              
interpreted  to  make prescription  decisions  around  medications                                                              
for animals,  and vice versa for  physicians.  She  explained that                                                              
veterinarians are  not bound to  Health Insurance  Portability and                                                              
Accountability Act  (HIPAA) guidelines because their  patients are                                                              
animals;   therefore,   giving   veterinarians  access   to   this                                                              
information  via the  PDMP would  be  a violation  of the  owner's                                                              
medical  privacy.   She asked  the committee  to consider  whether                                                              
they would  want someone  who was  not their medical  practitioner                                                              
to have access to  a list medications they were  on, which include                                                              
those  listed  on  slide  5,  which   read  as  follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Examples  of some common  medications seen include,  but                                                                   
     are not limited to: Adderall, Ritalin, anabolic                                                                            
     steroids  such  as testosterone,  postpartum  depression                                                                   
     medications, sex hormones, Xanax, Klonopin, Valium,                                                                        
     Ativan, Domar, and sleep aids like Ambien and Lunesta.                                                                     
DR.  WARD mentioned  that  a  common  concern was  how  veterinary                                                              
prescriptions of  controlled substances would be  monitored if the                                                              
PMDP exemption was  granted.  She answered this  question on slide                                                              
6, which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                       
     Veterinarians  who  prescribe   or  dispense  controlled                                                                   
     substances   are  licensed   through  Drug   Enforcement                                                                   
     Agency (DEA).  There is already  a significant  level of                                                                   
     accountability,  record keeping, and medication  storage                                                                   
     requirements that veterinarians must adhere to.                                                                            
     Distributors    of   controlled    substances    monitor                                                                   
     utilization patterns of veterinarians. The Suspicious                                                                      
     Order  Monitoring  System   is  in  place  and  data  is                                                                   
     gathered by  distribution companies who are  required by                                                                   
     the  DEA   to  monitor   and  report  unusual   purchase                                                                   
     patterns  a  veterinarian  may  have.  Distributors  are                                                                   
     required to  flag purchases  that fall outside  of norms                                                                   
     for either  previous purchase  history or the  norms for                                                                   
     practices  of similar  size/type.  DEA  oversight is  to                                                                   
     control/prevent  diversion  from licensed  professionals                                                                   
     to drug dealers and users.                                                                                                 
DR.  WARD,  reporting  that  Alaska  is  not  the  only  state  to                                                              
consider  exempting  veterinarians,  referred  to slide  7,  which                                                              
read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                
     34  other   states  have  exempted  veterinarians   from                                                                   
     participating in the PDMP.                                                                                                 
     10  states formerly  mandated  veterinary reporting  but                                                                   
     repealed   their   inclusion   due   to   the   problems                                                                   
     experienced, lack  of identified benefits  to veterinary                                                                   
     participation,   and   demonstration    that   exempting                                                                   
     veterinarians  does not  decrease  protection of  public                                                                   
     healthy  [sic] and  safety.  These states  are  Alabama,                                                                   
     Arizona, Idaho,  Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky,  Louisiana,                                                                   
     New Mexico, West Virginia (2021), and Wyoming.                                                                             
     Missouri  implemented  the  PDMP  in 2021  but  did  not                                                                   
     require veterinarians to participate.                                                                                      
DR. WARD  reported that  veterinarians do  not prescribe  the main                                                              
drugs of concern,  such as oxycontin, Vicodin,  and methadone, and                                                              
opioids that  are prescribed are  either used only in  hospital or                                                              
have a  very low  potential for  abuse.   She further  illustrated                                                              
that  veterinarians  are not  a  primary concern  as  a source  of                                                              
drugs,  as shown  on  slide 8,  which  read as  follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     The  Board of  Pharmacy reported  that veterinarians  in                                                                   
     Alaska  from 20162018   prescribed  .3% to  1% of  total                                                                   
     Morphine Milligram Equivalents (MMEs).                                                                                     
     Opioid   medications    prescribed   by    veterinarians                                                                   
     (728,223)   were  only   0.34%  of   the  total   opioid                                                                   
     prescriptions  (214  million)  that  were  dispensed  by                                                                   
     U.S. retail pharmacies in 2017.                                                                                            
     There is a  natural barrier to vet shopping  since costs                                                                   
     for  veterinary  care  are  paid up  front  by  the  pet                                                                   
     There  have  been  no  identified  cases  of  veterinary                                                                   
     shopping in Alaska.                                                                                                        
DR. WARD continued  to argue that veterinarians are  not a primary                                                              
source  of  drug misuse,  as  shown  on  slide  9, which  read  as                                                              
follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                        
     There are  numerous letters  and testimony on  file from                                                                   
     veterinarians,    medical    doctors    (including    ER                                                                   
     physicians),  and animal owners  supporting SB  132, for                                                                   
     all of the reasons enumerated previously                                                                                   
     There  is one letter  of opposition,  from the Board  of                                                                   
     Alaska's  ER Physicians.  The  literature  cited in  the                                                                   
     letter of  opposition is primarily  an Editorial  (not a                                                                   
     research  trial)  in  a medical  journal,  and  a  paper                                                                   
     citing  an increase  in "possible"  veterinary  shopping                                                                   
     behavior from 0.19% to 0.64%                                                                                               
     We do not  believe that Alaska should be  governed based                                                                   
     on  the precautionary  principle,  i.e., that  something                                                                   
     MIGHT happen  in the future, and so we  should legislate                                                                   
     to prevent this possibility.                                                                                               
     There   is  NO   credible  evidence   to  support   that                                                                   
     veterinary drugs  are contributing to the  opioid crisis                                                                   
     and significant evidence to suggest that they are not.                                                                     
DR.  WARD,  in   concluding  her  portion  of   the  presentation,                                                              
emphasized that  AKVMA urges a yes  vote on SB 132 and  skipped to                                                              
slide  12,  which lists  reasons  and  read as  follows  [original                                                              
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     An  Exemption  of Veterinarians  from  participating  in                                                                   
     the PDMP:                                                                                                                  
     Will  allow veterinarians  to  provide the  appropriate,                                                                   
     timely,   medical   management  appropriate   for   each                                                                   
     Will  increase the  efficiency  of the  PDMP system  for                                                                   
     its   intended  purpose,   by   allowing  for   accurate                                                                   
     interpretation of data and trends in human medicine.                                                                       
     Will  allow   continued  judicious  use   of  controlled                                                                   
     substances that is already practiced by veterinarians.                                                                     
     Will   eliminate   unnecessary    and   disproportionate                                                                   
     business burdens for veterinarians.                                                                                        
3:20:18 PM                                                                                                                    
HAL GEIGER, DVM,  Member, Board of Veterinary  Examiners, Division                                                              
of Corporations,  Business and Professional  Licensing, Department                                                              
of Commerce, Community  & Economic Development (DCCED),  gave part                                                              
of  the PowerPoint  presentation  begun  by Dr.  Ward.   He  first                                                              
shared  that he is  a retired  biostatistician  and has served  as                                                              
the  public member  on the  Board of  Veterinary Examiners  (BOVE)                                                              
for two terms.   He stressed that  he is not and has  never been a                                                              
part  of  the   veterinary  profession  but  has  had   a  lot  of                                                              
experience with  databases and  how they work.   He  reported that                                                              
the PDMP  "is not  working, has  not been  working, and  we're not                                                              
able to make  it work" for  veterinarians.  He explained  that the                                                              
board has repeatedly  found the information in the  database to be                                                              
incomplete,  corrupted, and  unreliable, and  there is  no way  to                                                              
extract a  summary of  information that  would actually  be useful                                                              
for veterinarians.   He  emphasized that  the purpose  of tracking                                                              
and monitoring  the prescription of  opioids is already  being met                                                              
through U.S Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) oversight.                                                                    
DR.  GEIGER opined  that there  is no  logical connection  between                                                              
tracking the  diversion of  drugs from  a veterinary hospital  and                                                              
the  PDMP.  He  referred  to the  bar chart  on slide  10  of  the                                                              
PowerPoint  that illustrates  the  "BOVE Investigative  Costs  for                                                              
Veterinarians"  and shows  that  the amount  of  money going  into                                                              
PDMP  investigations has  more than  tripled  in five  years.   He                                                              
reported  that during his  time on  the board  the amount  of PDMP                                                              
investigations  has  grown to  be  "pages  and pages"  worth,  the                                                              
majority of  which ended up being  coding errors or  violations of                                                              
unknown   origin.      He  shared   that   the   requirement   for                                                              
veterinarians  to log  in to  the  database every  day and  report                                                              
that  they did  not  prescribe any  controlled  substances led  to                                                              
veterinarians  receiving  superfluous   violations,  such  as  the                                                              
woman  who received  a  violation  for not  logging  in every  day                                                              
during her maternity leave.                                                                                                     
3:25:51 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee  took  a brief at-ease.   [During  the at-ease,  Co-                                                              
Chair Snyder passed the gavel to Representative Spohnholz.]                                                                     
3:25:55 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. GEIGER  reported that  the veterinarian  license in  Alaska is                                                              
the most expensive  in the nation, and he described  putting these                                                              
funds   towards   maintenance   of   the   PDMP   and   its   many                                                              
investigations  as wasteful.   He addressed  the concerns  of "vet                                                              
shopping,"  or  harming  a  dog  to  receive  painkillers  from  a                                                              
veterinarian, by  sharing a personal anecdote about  the $300 bill                                                              
he  received  when  he  took  his  dog  to  be  treated  after  an                                                              
accident.  He compared  that to the street price  of heroin, which                                                              
he stated is  about $15-20, and  posited that in this  case a drug                                                              
seeker would "just go buy the drug" [off the street].                                                                           
DR. GEIGER  reported  that the PDMP  system had  not identified  a                                                              
single  case of  drug diversion  or misconduct  and described  the                                                              
PDMP protocols  as  a waste of  time and  money for  veterinarians                                                              
and BOVE.   He referred to  previous testimony from  Sara Chambers                                                              
and   clarified  that   while  the   department  had   facilitated                                                              
conversations about how  to use the PDMP, he and  other members of                                                              
BOVE believe  that the  current system is  a complete  failure and                                                              
cannot be  made "workable."   He  acknowledged DCCED's  efforts to                                                              
make  the system  work  but  opined  that the  many  conversations                                                              
between the  department and BOVE  have not "born fruit,"  citing a                                                              
conversation he  had with a veterinarian  who said the  PDMP was a                                                              
factor in  their retirement.  He  asked the committee  to consider                                                              
what its goal is  for requiring veterinarians to use  the PDMP and                                                              
whether there is  a simpler and less expensive way  to achieve the                                                              
same outcome.                                                                                                                   
3:31:15 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS  stated that  he  wanted to  address  other                                                              
statutory requirements  for veterinarians and asked  whether there                                                              
are  veterinarians  who  acquire opioid  prescriptions  for  their                                                              
patients through pharmacies.                                                                                                    
3:32:04 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  WARD explained  that  most prescriptions  veterinarians  make                                                              
would  be filled  at a  pharmacy,  but the  veterinarian is  still                                                              
required to make an entry into the PDMP for every prescription.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS asked whether  eliminating the  requirement                                                              
for the  veterinarian to query  the system  if the drug  was going                                                              
through a pharmacy would relieve the burden.                                                                                    
DR.  WARD replied  that  it would,  but  questioned  who would  be                                                              
required to do the querying instead.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE   SPOHNHOLZ   clarified    that   pharmacists   are                                                              
responsible  for making  a query  when a  controlled substance  is                                                              
prescribed to their  pharmacy but asked for more  information from                                                              
the department.                                                                                                                 
3:33:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SARA CHAMBERS,  Director, Division  of Corporations,  Business and                                                              
Professional  Licensing,  Department   of  Commerce,  Community  &                                                              
Economic  Development, prefaced  her remarks  by stating  that the                                                              
administration  does  not  have a  position  on  SB 132,  and  her                                                              
division "works to implement statute."                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS restated his  question on whether  shifting                                                              
the  responsibility of  queries from  veterinarians to  pharmacies                                                              
would allow adequate government oversight.                                                                                      
LAURA   CARRILLO,  Executive   Administrator,   Alaska  Board   of                                                              
Pharmacy,  Division  of Corporations,  Business  and  Professional                                                              
Licensing,   Department   of  Commerce,   Community   &   Economic                                                              
Development,   explained  that   current   statute  requires   the                                                              
prescriber of the  controlled substance to make  the query; moving                                                              
that  responsibility  to  pharmacists   would  require  a  statute                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ  asked whether  the  pharmacist is  also                                                              
responsible for checking the PDMP.                                                                                              
MS.  CARRILLO  answered  that  pharmacists  are  not  required  by                                                              
statute to  check; however, the  majority have reported  that they                                                              
do query the PDMP [when controlled substances are prescribed].                                                                  
3:35:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY  asked what  has  been  done to  make  the                                                              
system work.                                                                                                                    
MS.  CHAMBERS  opined  that  all   parties  involved  believe  the                                                              
statute is "clunky" in how it has  been applied to veterinarians.                                                               
MS. CARRILLO explained  that there have been a  series of meetings                                                              
between  the  Board of  Pharmacy  and  BOVE  to address  the  many                                                              
questions  regarding how  veterinarians should  use the PDMP,  and                                                              
opportunities to address these questions were ongoing.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY  used the  metaphor  of placing  a  police                                                              
officer  in the Gulf  of Alaska  to prevent  traffic accidents  to                                                              
explain  the   [in]effectiveness   of  preventing  opioid   misuse                                                              
through requiring veterinarians  to use the PDMP.   In response to                                                              
Representative  Spohnholz,  he  clarified  that his  metaphor  was                                                              
intended  to scrutinize  the statute  put into  law by a  previous                                                              
legislature  and not the  department's actions  in enforcing  that                                                              
statute.  He asked whether the DEA had any input on the issue.                                                                  
MS. CARRILLO  reported  that the  DEA had given  feedback  to BOVE                                                              
that it is helpful  to have veterinarians participate  in the PDMP                                                              
because registration  with DEA  allows veterinarians  to prescribe                                                              
scheduled drugs.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY asked whether  veterinarians are  required                                                              
to have a DEA registration.                                                                                                     
MS.  CARRILLO explained  that only  veterinarians  that choose  to                                                              
prescribe  a controlled substance  are required  to register  with                                                              
the DEA.                                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY  asked whether  the  DEA  was reporting  a                                                              
problem with the controlled substances veterinarians prescribe.                                                                 
MS. CARRILLO  explained that the PDMP  is meant to be  a tool used                                                              
in   conjunction  with   other  measures   to  promote   judicious                                                              
prescribing  and to serve  as a  support for existing  regulations                                                              
that  help veterinarians  detect  "doctor shopping."   She  stated                                                              
that  the  information   in  the  PDMP  could  be   used  to  help                                                              
veterinarians report  to law enforcement if they  suspect a client                                                              
to be  at risk  for opioid abuse,  but that  the system  itself is                                                              
not currently linked to DEA access.                                                                                             
3:42:34 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a brief at-ease.                                                                                             
3:43:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  noted that  she was the  only legislator                                                              
in  the  room who  voted  on  House  Bill  159 in  2017,  and  she                                                              
provided  insight into the  intent of  requiring participation  in                                                              
the  PDMP.     She  clarified  that  the  initial   focus  of  the                                                              
legislation  had  been  to prevent  overprescribing  of  scheduled                                                              
substances  and  identify  practitioners  who may  be  prescribing                                                              
"outside of  best practices."   She contextualized  the importance                                                              
of  the PDMP  within the  opioid  crisis affecting  Alaska at  the                                                              
time of the  legislation and explained that implementing  the PDMP                                                              
wasn't just  about preventing  diversion of controlled  substances                                                              
but  understanding  the  roots   of  the  epidemic  and  providing                                                              
education to  prescribers about best  practices.  She  opined that                                                              
the DEA  was not effective in  preventing the issues  with opioids                                                              
and asked  whether there had been  any substantive changes  in DEA                                                              
regulation  of controlled  substances since  the PDMP  legislation                                                              
was put into place in 2017.                                                                                                     
MS. CARRILLO replied  that she did not have any  feedback from the                                                              
DEA on  PDMP requirements  or specific  schedules  to query.   She                                                              
explained  that the  DEA agent  who  spoke to  the department  did                                                              
bring  up the issue  of Tramadol  being highly  diverted in  rural                                                              
MS.  CHAMBERS stated  that  she  would reach  out  to  the DEA  to                                                              
inquire  about how  its enforcement  regulations  have changed  in                                                              
Alaska since 2017.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ  commented that the information  from the                                                              
DEA would add important context to the discussion.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY  said he supports  the use of the  PDMP for                                                              
human patients  and questioned  whether the  increase in  Tramadol                                                              
diversion   in  the   Bush  is   being   attributed  directly   to                                                              
MS.  CARRILLO  explained  that  the increase  is  being  seen  for                                                              
Tramadol   generally   and   not    specifically   in   veterinary                                                              
prescriptions of it.                                                                                                            
3:49:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KURKA expressed  that he  had a  question for  the                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE   SPOHNHOLZ  continued   with  questions   for  the                                                              
department,  stating  that  the  committee  would  return  to  the                                                              
veterinarians for questions after.                                                                                              
3:49:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  PRAX referenced  the  department's statement  that                                                              
there had  been biweekly meetings  to address the issues  with the                                                              
PDMP over the past  five years.  He then referred  to Dr. Gieger's                                                              
testimony  that  there  had  not   been  a  single  case  of  drug                                                              
diversion  from  a  veterinarian   in  that  time  and  questioned                                                              
whether fixing  the problems for  veterinary participation  in the                                                              
PDMP were even possible  since a solution had not  been reached by                                                              
this point.                                                                                                                     
MS. CHAMBERS  reported that  the inability to  fix the  PDMP after                                                              
constant work  to do so  has been a  large contributing  factor to                                                              
the frustration many  stakeholders are expressing.   She said that                                                              
there are multiple  responsible parties involved that  have had to                                                              
implement what  was laid out in  statute, and she listed  the many                                                              
ways the  department has  collaborated with  the different  boards                                                              
to find  workable solutions,  including making recommendations  to                                                              
the  legislature.   She  argued  that  all involved  parties  have                                                              
spent "quite  a bit of time" trying  to find ways to  fix the PDMP                                                              
so  that the  statute  can be  implemented  as currently  written.                                                              
She  posited  that  now  they  are   faced  with  the  existential                                                              
question of  whether or  not veterinarians  should be  included at                                                              
all  and, if  so, how  statute needs  to  be changed  to make  the                                                              
system usable and  fluid.  She stressed that unless  a policy call                                                              
is made  by the  legislature to  remove veterinary  participation,                                                              
the  department   will  have  to  continue  working   on  ways  to                                                              
implement the current  statute.  She noted that  the department is                                                              
working actively on  a request for a third-party  analyst to speak                                                              
with  all of  the  stakeholders  for the  purpose  of preparing  a                                                              
detailed  report  for  the  legislature.    She  stated  that  the                                                              
various  parties  responsible for  implementing  participation  in                                                              
the  PDMP needed  to  know whether  the  legislature intended  the                                                              
PDMP to be a tool used for education, enforcement, or both.                                                                     
3:55:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PRAX  shared his  understanding that while  some of                                                              
the PDMP violations  from veterinarians have been  from "providers                                                              
not using the  system correctly," the majority of  the issues stem                                                              
from  the  fundamental  differences   in  treating  humans  versus                                                              
animals.   He  posited  that even  if the  system  were made  more                                                              
convenient  to use,  the underlying  issues would  remain, and  he                                                              
asked for the administration's opinion on that.                                                                                 
MS.  CHAMBERS  reiterated  that  the department  worked  with  the                                                              
boards to create  instructions to make veterinary use  of the PDMP                                                              
more straight  forward.   She explained  that  the purpose  of the                                                              
PDMD  was to  create  a link  between  drugs  being prescribed  to                                                              
animals  and  the  humans  picking  up  the  prescriptions.    She                                                              
acknowledged  that  the  system   was  not  "perfect,  smooth,  or                                                              
ideal,"  but  that  it  was  usable  for  veterinarians  with  the                                                              
instructions the  department created.  She posited  that the tools                                                              
worked only  if practitioners  used them  but that the  discussion                                                              
around  whether the  tools were  being used or  whether the  tools                                                              
were useful had created an impasse.                                                                                             
3:58:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SPOHNHOLZ  asked   whether  [prescriptions   for]                                                              
testosterone  and sex  hormones are  required to  be entered  into                                                              
the PDMP.                                                                                                                       
MS. CARRILLO  confirmed that  they are schedule  3 drugs  and that                                                              
any prescriber of those drugs would have to make a query.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  MCCARTY  mentioned   the  large  number  of  board                                                              
meetings that have  been held and $200,000 in  investigations, and                                                              
he commented on  a need for additional funding.   He asked whether                                                              
these  costs   were  covered   by  licensees  through   additional                                                              
licensing fees.                                                                                                                 
MS. CHAMBERS  noted that PDMP board  meetings only started  a year                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTY  restated his  understanding that a  lot of                                                              
meetings had been held.                                                                                                         
MS. CHAMBERS confirmed  that there had been a lot  of meetings and                                                              
emphasized  that the  complexity of  the issue  required a  lot of                                                              
discussion  and   the  ability   to  join  together   when  making                                                              
legislative  recommendations.   She addressed  the $200,000  spent                                                              
on  investigations,   stating  that   this  number   reflects  all                                                              
investigations;  PDMP  violations  are  a  subset of  that.    She                                                              
explained  that   the  increase  in  investigations   was  due  to                                                              
veterinarians incurring  violations by not following  statute, but                                                              
that they  were not  paying for  the investigations through  their                                                              
licenses  because the  state was  able to find  federal funds  for                                                              
that purpose.   She opined  that the high  cost of  licensing fees                                                              
for veterinarians was because of the nature of Alaska's economy.                                                                
4:04:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KURKA  questioned  what percentage  of  the  total                                                              
amount  of "problem  opioids" being  prescribed  were coming  from                                                              
4:05:16 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  WARD  stated  her understanding  that  the  main  opioids  of                                                              
concern for  human addiction  were oxycontin, Vicodin,  methadone,                                                              
fentanyl, and heroine,  which she clarified that  no practitioners                                                              
were prescribing.    She explained  that the  only opioid  used in                                                              
veterinary  practice   was  fentanyl   and  that  it   was  almost                                                              
exclusively used in  hospital.  She stated that in  the past there                                                              
had been occasional  use of take-home fentanyl  patches which have                                                              
become very rare  since fentanyl overdoses have  become a national                                                              
concern.  She  did not know a precise percentage  of prescriptions                                                              
made for  fentanyl by veterinarians,  but anecdotally  shared that                                                              
she had  never done  so during  her career  and hypothesized  that                                                              
most general  veterinary practitioners  would say  the same.   She                                                              
stated  that fentanyl  was only  ever prescribed  in hospital  for                                                              
very specialized  surgeries and emphasized that the  occurrence of                                                              
prescriptions  for problematic opioids  from veterinarians  was so                                                              
rare that the percentage would be "infinitesimal."                                                                              
4:07:03 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. GEIGER  commented on the  concerns raised about  the diversion                                                              
of  Tramadol  and  stated  that  it  is  "nearly  never  used"  in                                                              
veterinary practice.   He further  explained that because  it is a                                                              
schedule 4  drug, it is not required  to be entered into  the PDMP                                                              
and  as such  cannot  be tracked  by  the PDMP,  underscoring  his                                                              
point  that there  needs to  be  a better  connection between  the                                                              
goal for PDMP participation and the requirements in statute.                                                                    
4:08:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS  mentioned a  provision  in  the bill  that                                                              
would  remove the requirement  to  report to  the PDMP every  day,                                                              
and he  suggested another  step that  could be  taken would  be to                                                              
allow  veterinarians to  specify when  they had  not prescribed  a                                                              
controlled  substance,  and  that would  decrease  the  regulatory                                                              
DR.  WARD explained  that only  veterinarians  who are  dispensing                                                              
the  drug directly  are  required  to make  daily  reports to  the                                                              
PDMP,   which   she   described   as   a   small   percentage   of                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE    FIELDS    asked    whether    exempting    those                                                              
veterinarians who are  required to make a daily report  would be a                                                              
viable option.                                                                                                                  
DR.  WARD confirmed  that it  could  be possible,  but stated  her                                                              
concern that  the focus of the questions  has been on  how to make                                                              
the system easier  for veterinarians to use, which  addresses only                                                              
one of  the many reasons veterinarian  participation did  not make                                                              
sense.   She  stated that  this approach  of trying  to "fix"  the                                                              
system by  creating fewer entry  and query requirements  would not                                                              
solve  the  many  other  issues  with  using  the  PDMP,  such  as                                                              
physicians  and  veterinarians  being  unable  to  interpret  each                                                              
other's  data.   She  reiterated that  veterinarians  make a  very                                                              
small contribution  to the  total number  of controlled  substance                                                              
prescriptions,  arguing that  making the  system less onerous  but                                                              
maintaining  the  participation  requirement  will  not  have  any                                                              
positive benefit to public health.                                                                                              
4:11:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KURKA  shared  his understanding  that  there  has                                                              
been no  evidence of drug abuse  through "vet shopping"  and asked                                                              
whether  there had  ever been  any deaths  linked to  veterinarian                                                              
scoured opioids.                                                                                                                
DR. WARD  explained that fewer  than ten examples  of veterinarian                                                              
shopping  nationwide  were recorded  annually  and  none of  these                                                              
cases occurred  in Alaska.  She  reported that there have  been no                                                              
instances of which  she was aware where someone  died from opioids                                                              
obtained through a veterinary prescription.                                                                                     
DR.   GEIGER   shared   that  there   have   been   instances   of                                                              
veterinarians  who had  committed suicide  using opioids  obtained                                                              
through their  practice, but participation  in the PDMP  could not                                                              
track or prevent those kinds of incidents.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  FIELDS sought confirmation  that amendments  would                                                              
not be brought forward in this meeting.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ confirmed that is correct.                                                                             
4:13:47 PM                                                                                                                    
NELSON PRIDDY,  DVM, began  his invited  testimony by  sharing his                                                              
background.  He  shared his worry that the facts  of the issue are                                                              
being  ignored and  stated  that veterinarians  are  not and  have                                                              
never  been a  source of  addictive  opioids.   He summarized  his                                                              
position,   saying  that   the   participation  requirements   for                                                              
veterinarians  in the  PDMP do  a poor  job of  solving a  problem                                                              
that  does  not  exist.   He  argued  against  Director  Chamber's                                                              
previous claim  that some  veterinarians agree  the PDMP  could be                                                              
made  workable, reporting  that  in his  daily experience  working                                                              
with veterinarians  across the state he has never  come across one                                                              
practitioner   who    believes   the   PDMP   is    workable   for                                                              
veterinarians.     He  relayed  a  conversation  he   had  with  a                                                              
practicing emergency  care physician with extensive  experience in                                                              
the opioid  crisis who reported  that knowing the source  of drugs                                                              
would  help  and cited  their  concern  for fentanyl  tablets  and                                                              
DR. PRIDDY  explained that  the prescription  of fentanyl  tablets                                                              
by veterinarians  is non-existent  and that  the most  widely used                                                              
drug  formulary for  veterinarians  did not  even  create an  oral                                                              
form  of fentanyl.     He also  emphasized that  tramadol is  used                                                              
infrequently  by veterinarians,  referencing  recent studies  that                                                              
showed the  ineffectiveness of tramadol  for animal patients.   He                                                              
said that  the requirement  to report to  the PDMP was  "literally                                                              
rammed down  the throat of veterinarians,"  and he shared  that he                                                              
was a  member of BOVE when  the statute was  changed in 2017.   He                                                              
stated  that the  primary concern  was to  prevent drug  diversion                                                              
from veterinarians,  but there have been no examples  in Alaska of                                                              
drug diversion  from animals to humans  in the last five  years of                                                              
data.  He  expressed his frustration with the  legislative process                                                              
regarding  SB 132  and opined  that certain  committees have  been                                                              
"sitting" on the legislation.                                                                                                   
DR. PRIDDY  urged for  the abolition of  the PDMP requirement  for                                                              
veterinarians  and stated  that  the money  used  to upkeep  these                                                              
requirements  could  be  used  instead   to  fund  prevention  and                                                              
treatment techniques for people with opioid addictions.                                                                         
4:21:11 PM                                                                                                                    
JON BASLER,  DVM, Medical  Director/Owner, College Village  Animal                                                              
Clinic, began his  invited testimony by sharing  his experience in                                                              
the  field, including  work  in  rural Alaska,  and  he urged  the                                                              
committee  to  support   SB  132.    He  spoke   to  his  personal                                                              
experience  reporting to  the PDMP  and explained  that it  is the                                                              
consensus of  all the  veterinarians at his  clinic that  the PDMP                                                              
provided   no  useful   information   to   veterinarians  in   the                                                              
prevention of prescription  misuse by their patients'  owners.  He                                                              
said  there  are  often  discrepancies   between  what  is  on  an                                                              
animal's medical  record and  what can be  found in a  PDMP search                                                              
and  that, in  his experience,  the PDMP  cannot accurately  track                                                              
controlled substance  prescriptions for  animals.  He  shared that                                                              
the top  areas of concern  for opioid diversion  within veterinary                                                              
clinics are  missing stock,  use by  staff, and stolen  medication                                                              
sent without  approval of  a veterinarian, but  none of  these are                                                              
prevented  by the  use  of the  PDMP.    He  opined  that the  DEA                                                              
regulations already  in place  for tracking controlled  substances                                                              
are   effective  and   accurate.     He  argued   that  the   PDMP                                                              
requirements  for  "zero  day  recording"  create  more  work  and                                                              
stress  for veterinary  technicians, an  already understaffed  and                                                              
overworked position  in Alaska.  He reiterated that  the PDMP does                                                              
not  work for  veterinarians,  their  patients, or  in  preventing                                                              
drug diversion,  and he  encouraged the committee  to join  the 30                                                              
states  that have  already  exempted  veterinarians.   He  offered                                                              
more information  to any interested legislators on  his day-to-day                                                              
reality using the PDMP and urged the committee to pass SB 132.                                                                  
4:27:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ closed  invited testimony and  commented                                                              
on the shortage of veterinarians in Alaska.                                                                                     
4:27:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ opened public testimony on SB 132.                                                                     
4:27:54 PM                                                                                                                    
JUDITH  MASTELLER, DVM,  representing  self, stated  that she  had                                                              
never  seen  a  veterinarian  prosecuted   for  killing  a  person                                                              
through misuse  of prescription drugs.   She spoke to  her history                                                              
as a  veterinarian and  shared that she  had never prescribed  any                                                              
of the opioids of  concern.  She described the  vast difference in                                                              
dosage for a small  cat or dog with what would  be given for human                                                              
use and opined  that addicts seeking drugs through  a veterinarian                                                              
doesn't  make sense.   She  asked why  there was  such a focus  on                                                              
veterinarians when  there was no evidence that  they contribute to                                                              
the opioid problem.   She stated that with the  severe shortage of                                                              
veterinarians and  technicians, clinics are turning  away patients                                                              
and do not have time to waste on PDMP entries.                                                                                  
4:31:19 PM                                                                                                                    
JUDY MONTALBANO,  DVM, Alaska Veterinary Association,  stated that                                                              
she was a veterinarian  in Alaska for 26 years and  now works as a                                                              
professor in a  veterinary medicine program.   She underscored the                                                              
"tremendous"  shortage of  veterinary  staff in  the  state.   She                                                              
explained  that  she was  often  met  with hesitancy  from  Alaska                                                              
residents to divulge  medical records to veterinarians  and shared                                                              
her concern  over possible lawsuits  from pet owners  over illegal                                                              
access to  records.  She opined  that veterinary  participation in                                                              
the PDMP  does not improve  human health  and puts unfair  onus on                                                              
4:34:14 PM                                                                                                                    
KYRSTAL  TODD,  Veterinarian  Technician,  North  Pole  Veterinary                                                              
Hospital, stated  that the current  implementation of the  PDMP is                                                              
unrealistic  for  the  veterinarian  field.   She  emphasized  the                                                              
intensity  of   the  workload   already  placed  on   veterinarian                                                              
technicians and stated  that the extra burden of  reporting to the                                                              
PDMP  has  caused  her  to  consider  leaving  her  career.    She                                                              
expressed  her belief  that having  access to  her human  clients'                                                              
medical  information is  a HIPAA  violation  and described  having                                                              
that access through  the PDMP as an "overreach."   She stated that                                                              
veterinarians  should be  exempt  from the  PDMP until  it can  be                                                              
rectified to  allow participation  without having access  to human                                                              
medical records.                                                                                                                
4:35:49 PM                                                                                                                    
DAWN  BROWN, DVM,  representing  self,  agreed with  the  previous                                                              
testifier's comments  on not being  entitled to or even  desire to                                                              
access the medical  history of her human clients.   She emphasized                                                              
the infrequency  with which  she prescribes  any drugs  that could                                                              
be misused.   She expressed her  sadness and frustration  with how                                                              
long  the bill  has  been in  committee  and  referenced the  wide                                                              
community  and  bipartisan   support  for  SB  132.     She  urged                                                              
committee members to move the bill to a floor vote.                                                                             
4:37:23 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBORAH  MERSCH,   DVM,  Small   Animal  Veterinarian,   described                                                              
veterinarians as  compassionate and well-educated  individuals who                                                              
deserve respect  from their  clients and  elected officials.   She                                                              
expressed  her frustration  with the legislative  process  and the                                                              
perceived   disrespect   shown  by   legislators   in  regard   to                                                              
veterinarians'  concerns  about the  PDMP,  and specifically  with                                                              
the   delays  in   public  testimony.      She  acknowledged   the                                                              
seriousness  of the  opioid  epidemic in  Alaska  but stated  that                                                              
veterinarians  should  not be  held  solely responsible  and  that                                                              
their participation in the PDMP did nothing to curb abuse.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ  reminded  everyone that  the  committee                                                              
was actively  hearing  the bill  and apologized  for the delay  in                                                              
public testimony.                                                                                                               
4:40:24 PM                                                                                                                    
PETER  NICHOLSON, DVM,  representing  self,  highlighted the  main                                                              
problem of veterinary  participation in the PDMP is  that they are                                                              
tracking individuals  with no legal  identification.   He compared                                                              
the process to  a hypothetical scenario where someone  is asked to                                                              
run  a   Department  of   Motor  Vehicles   (DMV)  without   birth                                                              
certificates  or vehicle  identification numbers.   He alluded  to                                                              
other issues with  pet identification, such as  name changes, that                                                              
make  the  accurate  tracking  of   patients  through  a  database                                                              
difficult.   He  stated  that  veterinarian participation  in  the                                                              
PDMP is well-intentioned  but had been shown to  be ineffectual in                                                              
practice.   He reiterated that  there was a fundamental  inability                                                              
for the PDMP to function as intended for veterinarians.                                                                         
4:42:52 PM                                                                                                                    
JAMES DELKER,  DVM, Alaska  Veterinary Association,  reported that                                                              
he had  letters of  support for  SB 132  from several  physicians,                                                              
including ones  with experience  in the  opioid crisis,  who state                                                              
that they  have never  treated an  overdose from opioids  received                                                              
through a  veterinarian.   He  expressed his frustration  with the                                                              
legislative  process and opined  that the  facts of the  situation                                                              
are  being  ignored.    He cited  two  senators  who  support  the                                                              
removal of veterinarians  from the PDMP.  He  expressed additional                                                              
frustration   with  the   lack  of  veterinarian   input   in  the                                                              
implementation  of the PDMP  from the  beginning and claimed  that                                                              
association  members are  left out of  collaborative efforts  from                                                              
the  DCCED.   He emphasized  that  the problem  being "solved"  by                                                              
PDMP participation  does not exist  and characterized  money spent                                                              
on these investigations as a waste.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ  explained   that  the  postponement  of                                                              
public  testimony   on  SB   132  resulted   from  the   House  of                                                              
Representatives being  called to a floor session  during the usual                                                              
meeting time  for the  House Health  and Social Services  Standing                                                              
Committee; it  was not the intent  of the chairs or  any committee                                                              
members to  delay the  bill.   She expressed  her interest  in the                                                              
testimony  that  was  being  brought   forth  and  reminded  those                                                              
listening that  at the end  of a session,  floor meetings  can run                                                              
long.   She  emphasized that  the  co-chairs had  not delayed  the                                                              
hearing on SB 132 in the spirit of obstructionism.                                                                              
4:47:03 PM                                                                                                                    
SUZE NOLAN,  Licensed Veterinary  Technician, Manager,  North Pole                                                              
Veterinary  Hospital, explained  that veterinarians are  regulated                                                              
by  multiple systems  designed  to  address misuse  of  controlled                                                              
substances  and  stressed  that  the drugs  with  the  most  abuse                                                              
concern  are  not   used  in  the  veterinary   profession.    She                                                              
described  the   PDMP  as  meaningless  for  use   with  non-human                                                              
patients   and   stated   that    because   veterinarians   cannot                                                              
meaningfully  use the  data in  the  PDMP, they  should be  exempt                                                              
from participation.                                                                                                             
4:47:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MERCEDES PINTO,  DVM, representing self, stated that  she recently                                                              
left private  practice and  cited PDMP compliance  as part  of the                                                              
reason for  her transition  to working at  an animal rescue.   She                                                              
explained that  she does not have  training in human  medicine and                                                              
cannot  interpret  the  data  within   the  PDMP;  therefore,  the                                                              
information about  the human clients'  drug history has  no impact                                                              
on  her decisions  in  terms of  what  she prescribes  her  animal                                                              
patients.   She  reported that  as a  shelter veterinarian,  there                                                              
are  no  humans  associated  with her  patients  to  query,  which                                                              
causes  her  to  unintentionally   violate  the  system,  and  she                                                              
reported that as  a result, she is now under  investigation by the                                                              
board.   She reiterated that  the system  does not work  and urged                                                              
the committee to support the exemption of veterinarians.                                                                        
4:50:05 PM                                                                                                                    
ALLI PEARMINE, representing  self, stated that in her  17 years of                                                              
experience  as a  veterinary technician  she had  never seen  drug                                                              
seeking   through  veterinarians.      She  underscored   previous                                                              
comments that  participation in the  PDMP does not make  sense for                                                              
veterinarians and  stated that the  passage of SB 132  would allow                                                              
veterinarians to better fulfill their duties.                                                                                   
4:51:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SPOHNHOLZ, after  ascertaining that  there was  no                                                              
one else  who wished  to testify,  closed public  testimony  on SB
4:51:24 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SPOHNHOLZ announced that SB 132 was held over.                                                                   
4:51:35 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further business  before the committee,  the House                                                              
Health  and  Social   Services  Standing  Committee   meeting  was                                                              
adjourned at 4:51 p.m.                                                                                                          

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