Legislature(2017 - 2018)

2017-03-08 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2017-03-08                     House Journal                      Page 0433
HB 164                                                                                                                        
HOUSE BILL NO. 164 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                   
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to the protection of vulnerable adults and                                                                
     residents of long term care facilities."                                                                                   
was read the first time and referred to the Health & Social Services                                                            
and Finance Committees.                                                                                                         
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                                             
1.  Zero, Dept. of Health & Social Services                                                                                     
2.  Zero, Dept. of Revenue                                                                                                      
The Governor's transmittal letter dated March 7 follows:                                                                        

2017-03-08                     House Journal                      Page 0434
"Dear Speaker Edgmon:                                                                                                           
Under the authority of Article III, Section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill relating to the protection of                                                            
vulnerable adults and residents of long term care facilities.                                                                   
This bill would amend provisions of AS 47.62, Office of the Long                                                                
Term Care Ombudsman, to ensure alignment with 42 U.S.C. 3058(g)                                                                 
(Older Americans Act of 1965), as amended by S. 192, P.L. 114-144,                                                              
(Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2016), and                                                                          
implementing regulations, 45 C.F.R. Part 1327. The bill would also                                                              
amend certain provisions of AS 47.24 (protection of vulnerable                                                                  
Under current State law, if a report of abuse or neglect of an older                                                            
Alaskan is made directly to the Office of the Long Term Care                                                                    
Ombudsman, the Ombudsman is required to provide the report and the                                                              
results of the Office's investigation to the Department of Health and                                                           
Social Services (DHSS). This mandate potentially conflicts with                                                                 
federal requirements precluding the Ombudsman from disclosing the                                                               
report unless there is consent; this bill would clarify that the                                                                
Ombudsman may provide a report of abuse to DHSS, but only if the                                                                
vulnerable adult provides consent to do so. The bill also would clarify                                                         
that DHSS has the responsibility to investigate all reports of harm it                                                          
receives regarding vulnerable adults and that DHSS may transfer                                                                 
reports to the Ombudsman for additional assistance in resolving any                                                             
issues for residents in long term care facilities. The Ombudsman also                                                           
would have discretion to investigate and resolve complaints for                                                                 
residents of facilities who are younger than 60 years of age, consistent                                                        
with federal law.                                                                                                               
Under current law, the Ombudsman may not disclose the person's                                                                  
identity without the consent of the identified person or the person's                                                           
legal guardian, unless required by court order. Amendments,                                                                     
consistent with federal law, would allow the Ombudsman to disclose                                                              
the person's identity for purposes of making a referral to an agency if                                                         
the person or the resident representative is unable to provide consent                                                          
and if certain other conditions are met. The bill includes a definition of                                                      
"resident representative" consistent with federal regulations.                                                                  
This bill also amends AS 47.24 as it relates to the Department of                                                               
Health and Social Services' handling of reports of harm to older                                                                

2017-03-08                     House Journal                      Page 0435
Alaskans and the investigation of the reports. Additionally, it clarifies                                                       
where reports of harm are to be lodged within DHSS.                                                                             
I urge your prompt and favorable action on this measure.                                                                        
Bill Walker