Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/20/1997 01:34 PM Senate L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE                             
                       February 20, 1997                                       
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Senator Loren Leman, Chairman                                                 
 Senator Jerry Mackie, Vice Chairman                                           
 Senator Tim Kelly                                                             
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                         
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 65                                                            
 "An Act relating to domestic animals, to food, and to the Alaska              
 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; and providing for an effective date."            
  -SCHEDULED, BUT NOT HEARD                                                    
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 41(L&C)                                                 
 "An Act relating to impairment rating guides used in evaluation of            
 certain workers' compensation claims."                                        
  -MOVED HB 41 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB 65 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/13/97.                         
 HB 41 - No previous action to record.                                         
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Ms. Janet Seitz, Staff                                                        
 Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Staff to sponsor of HB 41.                             
 Mr. Paul Grossi, Director                                                     
 Division of Workers Compensation                                              
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 25512                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802-5512                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 41.                                       
 Mr. Garrey Peska                                                              
 Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA)                   
 219 Seward St.                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported HB 41.                                       
 Mr. Dwight Perkins, Special Assistant                                         
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99802-1149                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on HB 41.                                    
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 97-7, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
        HB  41 IMPAIRMENT RATING GUIDES FOR WORKERS COMP                      
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN  called the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee                
 meeting to order at 1:34 p.m. and announced  HB 41  to be up for              
  MS. JANET SEITZ,  Staff to Representative Rokeberg, sponsor,                 
 explained that this legislation is necessary because now under  the           
 regulations procedure it can take a long time for the newest                  
 version of the guides to be adopted for use by the Worker's Comp              
 Board.  For example, until April of last year they were using a               
 1988 guide when the 1993 guide had already been published.                    
 She said Representative Rokeberg thinks the process to get the                
 regulations in place is prohibitive and the new guides are valuable           
 because of new medical technology and diagnostic procedures.                  
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked how often the book comes out.  MS. SEITZ               
 responded that there is no set time.                                          
  SENATOR KELLY  asked if they used to have to adopt the guides by             
 statute.  MS. SEITZ deferred to Mr. Paul Grossi, Director, Workers            
  MR. GROSSI  explained that HB 41 allows them to adopt the most               
 recent version of the AMA Guides without going through the                    
 regulatory process which is currently what they have to do.                   
 Number 81                                                                     
  MR. GARREY PESKA,  ASHNHA, supported HB 41 because it clarifies the          
 process by which the guidelines will be adopted.                              
  SENATOR KELLY  asked the difference between the CS and the original          
 bill on the House side.  MR. GROSSI replied that the CS establishes           
 a specific date for the most recent guide to go into effect.  There           
 was the fear of litigation regarding which guide would actually be            
 in effect during the 90-day period.                                           
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  asked if the Board was able to pick a date that is           
 immediate in terms of the implementation.  MR. GROSSI replied that            
 the Board would try to give enough notice to everybody to allow the           
 various parties to purchase the newest guide and get set up.                  
  SENATOR KELLY  said it appears we are throwing ourselves on the              
 mercy of the AMA and he wasn't sure that was a wise thing to do,              
 but he didn't think he would be against it.                                   
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  said he thought we had already done that by adopting         
 previous statutes.  SENATOR KELLY responded that if the Board can             
 delay taking new guidelines for years and years, then they hadn't             
 done it.                                                                      
  MR. DWIGHT PERKINS,  Department of Labor, said he thought that it            
 was something that just didn't get done and it was seen by the new            
 administration as something that needed to be addressed as soon as            
  SENATOR KELLY  asked who was the last commissioner.  MR. PERKINS             
 replied Commissioner Mahlen.                                                  
  SENATOR MACKIE  moved to pass HB 41 from committee with individual           
 recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.             
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  said they would not take up SB 65 today and are              
 working on some challenging amendments.                                       
  CHAIRMAN LEMAN  adjourned the meeting at 1:45 p.m.                           

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